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Durham barbershop owner ready to rebuild after fire

Posted January 2, 2011
Updated January 13, 2011

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— A Durham small business owner noted for fighting crime and revitalizing his neighborhood faces a new challenge: rebuilding his barbershop after a devastating electrical fire.

Samuel Jenkins, owner of Samuel and Sons Barber Shop, got a call that disrupted his laid-back routine this Sunday morning.

"Someone called me and said, 'Your barbershop is on fire.' I'm like, 'Stop joking,'" Jenkins said.

Firefighters said flames were pouring from the Angier Avenue building Jenkins owns when they arrived around 6 a.m. Twenty-seven firefighters from four stations brought the fire under control within 15 minutes.

The damage, though, was already done: heavy fire damage to Triangle Trophy, whose owner rented space from Jenkins, and smoke and water damage to the barbershop.

Jenkins said firefighters told him that an accidental electrical fire started in Triangle Trophy, next door to his barbershop.

"I got a brick wall in between mine, so it came over the roof," he said.

Fire torches Durham barbershop, but owner hastens to rebuild Fire torches Durham barbershop, but owner hastens to rebuild

The only items worth saving that he found were pictures of friends and mementos that hung on the wall – including a newspaper article that praised Jenkins as a community "rebuilder."

Since buying the building on Angier Avenue seven years ago, Jenkins has gotten credit for reaching out to both city leaders and neighbors to take back the streets from the drugs, gangs and prostitutes in east Durham.

"You embrace them and say, 'You ain't got to live that way,'" he said.

Jenkins said that he once lived on the street as well, but turned his life around and became a business owner.

What's important is how you respond to adversity, like the fire, he said.

"I can't complain about the fire. I can't change the fact that it's still going to be burnt down. What I can do is change how I feel about it," he said.

Jenkins wasted no time turning that upbeat, determined attitude into action. "When the last fire truck was pulling out, I was pulling into Lowe's," he said.

"It's time to clean up, time to restart. And that's what I'm going to do."

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  • jaydukes Jan 3, 2011

    Sam is a good man. He's been my barber now for seven years-- I won't let another person touch my hair. This was sad to see when I passed by the shop. For him, this is just another obstacle. He'll bounce back-- that's just the kind of guy he is.

  • seankelly15 Jan 3, 2011

    Hater like Darth Vader - "I would say helping this man would be advancing the colored community for sure." 'Colored community'; aren't all communities some color?

  • whatelseisnew Jan 3, 2011

    This guy proves that moving to a better life requires that the person step up and take advantage of opportunities. Laying back and subsisting on handouts means that is all you will ever have.
    Hope he gets his business back up running soon.

  • Hater like Darth Vader Jan 3, 2011

    I agree NCcarguy. I'm kind of wondering why it doesn't make it in the news if the NAACP ever does anything like that anymore. It seems all the try to get publicity for is stopping things from happening like they are the racist police or something. I would say helping this man would be advancing the colored community for sure.

  • wakeconative4ever Jan 3, 2011

    Hope he gets his shop up and running soon....I love to hear about folks who, despite all odds, make it in this world. God Bless you, Samuel!!!!

  • ObamaMustGo aka NCcarguy Jan 3, 2011

    I'm impressed with his attitude, and work ethic! To ME...here's where the NAACP could step in and help this man get his operation back in top shape!

  • frankbad15 Jan 3, 2011

    Thats good that he is going to rebuild the Barber Shop, I wonder how long it will take him to do so.

  • wayneboyd Jan 3, 2011

    Samuel, my hats off to you, you're my kind of guy. I've said all along that anyone can do anything they want as long as the want too is strong enough. It takes no guts whatsoever to get up every morning, put on a pair of baggy pants, and walk around half stoned with a grudge against the world because you weren't born with a silver spoon in your mouth. We're all given one gift and that is life, we make it what it is from there on.
    IT"S NOT THE SIZE OF THE DOG IN THE FIGHT, BUT THE SIZE OF THE FIGHT IN THE DOG. and you sir are a thoroughbred pit bull, God bless you!!