By Stone Tyler
NCCU Staff Writer
the Durham VOICE
When Bennie Segers bought Cox Barbershop from his uncle by marriage in the early 1980s, he had no idea what challenges faced him, much less how to cut hair.
The original barbershop, located on the 900 block of East Main Street in downtown Durham, was home to Segers for almost a decade.
“Rent was cheap and there was a steady stream of clientele,” said Segers, who soon realized that in order to be successful in the trade, he had to become part of it. He enrolled at the Harris Barber College in Raleigh and earned a degree as a barber-stylist.
Segers faced challenging times in the years ahead. The building on Main Street was old and the rent increased. The roof constantly leaked and the landlord refused to make the necessary repairs.
Seegars had to find a new location for his 800 plus customers.
“I was driving down Holloway Street, and God told me to stop,” said Segers. “There it was.”
The gray cinderblock building with brick facing and metal bars over the windows sitting on the corner of Holloway and Bunn was where Segers says God told him to continue his business.
After some negotiating with the owner of the building, Segers became the owner of 1601 Holloway Street.
After weeks of contractors, painters and moving to the new building, Segers, along with his son Derrick, a third generation barber, and other colleagues were back in business.
The new shop held the four original hand pumped barber chairs now donned in new upholstery and barber cabinets that were moved from the original Cox Barbershop giving the Holloway location a nostalgic feel.
Segers was concerned about losing his customers with the move, but he was pleasantly surprised to find that about 85 percent of his customers found him across town.
His diverse customer base has more than doubled since his move to NECD.
The barbershop has a steady stream of customers that range from toddlers to grandparents who are greeted and finish their cuts with a hug. No one is a stranger at The Cox Barbershop.
The sign above Segers’ chair reads “Our Customer Policy: Friendly satisfying service to everyone.” This must be why his shop has flourished for the past 30 years.