By Tommia Hayes
NCCU Staff Writer
the Durham VOICE
As Samuel Jenkins watched his eight-year-old barber shop go up in flames on Jan. 2, he was already devising his next move.
Although most people would crumble if they saw their life’s work burning, that’s not Sam. As the firefighters were putting out the fire, he knew it would take time and hard work to get everything back.
Jenkins compares himself to the Blue Devils’ Coach K. “What would he do during crunch time? Do you break down or prepare for the worst?” said Jenkins.
Since he has been cutting hair for about 18 years in East Durham, he plans to rebuild his shop.
In the meantime, Jenkins is still cutting hair on Angier Avenue (at the Style Barbershop, 2026 Angier Ave) just walking distance from his former shop. His loyal clients just give him a call and he finds time away from his two other jobs to meet with them.
“It’s good that Sam is still in the neighborhood,” Randy Parker, truck driver, said.
The fire which began around 5:30 a.m. caused an estimated $178 thousand in structural damage to both the barber shop and trophy shop next door.
Additionally, insurance adjusters told Jenkins that the damage to contents of his shop amounted to $38,000. Since he had insured the contents for $10,000, he will have to come up with another $28,000 out of pocket — hence the two other jobs.
“I have enough coverage to help fix some of the damages, but I have to get money elsewhere,” said Jenkins.
So far he has been getting money either through self-help and looking at options such as the credit union.
“I’m what you call a hustler, not in a negative way but I’ll do what it takes to make money legally,” said Jenkins. “I scrap metal, do home improvement side jobs. I’ll even cut your grass with pride.”
Jenkins says, “In the end it’s about seeing money coming in your business and pocket, not coming out.”
“It’s good that Sam didn’t let the fire get to him,” said Parker.
The process with the insurance company hasn’t been easy, but Jenkins understands it.
“When it comes to the insurance companies, they work for themselves,” said Jenkins. “They know what caused the damage to the building, but I still haven’t received a check.”
Besides waiting on the insurance company to finalize their process, Jenkins had to adjust to cutting hair in a new place.
“The transition to the different barber shop was rough,” said Jenkins. “It was a hard transition because my retail, everything that matters in running a sufficient barber salon was established,” said Jenkins. “But when I came here, I did not have the same amenities that Samuel and Son provides.”
“My grandson and I been getting our hair cut by Sam for 11 years and will continue to do so,” said O’berry William, retired Durham resident. “Even if Sam decides to move out the neighborhood, we will follow him.”
“I feel good that Sam is still here cutting hair and doing good for the community,” said Tyree Holder, cashier and cook.
Jenkins strongly advises other entrepreneurs to try to establish ownership. “If you have ownership you have control over the property,” said Jenkins.
He says that even people working in someone else’s shop should always get enough content insurance to cover their items.
Sam is spending his free time cleaning up his shop and saving money to reopen as soon as possible.
“Sam is a good man. We need more strong intelligent black men like himself to help bring this neighborhood back to where it once was 50 years ago,” said Alston Lee, Jr., Durham resident.
If you want to help Sam rebuild, call him at 919-672-6717.