Ken Carpenter of Ken’s Barber Shop


People of Yorkville Interview with Ken Carpenter

Me: How long has Ken’s Barber Shop been in business?

KP: January 2014. Across the street was the original barber shop, and that went back before the depression. That was the Sanitary Barber Shop. My dad (that’s Lenny) started working there in 1968. He had been working at another barber shop across the street since 1964 when he moved to York.

Me: How long have you been a barber?

KP: I started training in 1984, and I got my license in 1986, so over 30 years. I’m old.

Me: You’re not old.

KP: I’ve been cutting hair for over thirty years.

A bit of conversation….my recorder makes people nervous at times….

Me: You’ve got good stories. Your dad has good stories.

KP: Those are just the ones I can tell in front of women and children.


Ken's BarberBarber chairs 2

Me: How many people a day can you cut hair?

KP: It’s been slow. It started out being really, really busy but it’s been slow for about a year. So that does vary. You’ll have some years that are busy and some that are not. You kind of start changing your opinion on what a good week is. You know. But. The best I’ve ever done is 25. The worst I’ve ever done is a zero. Anywhere in between. You can’t never tell. You have to save your money when it’s good.

Me: 25 in a week?

KP: No. A day. But that’s only happened one time. That was a good day. That was good money. And that day that was a zero, that’s only happened once. But nevertheless, yeah. People will think we’re more busy than we are because people tend to come all at once. When it’s slow, people aren’t here, so. I’d bring a book to read, but she talks to me all the time. (Looks sideways at Lorie, the other barber.)

Me: That’s what you get for letting a woman work here!

Me: You’ve worked for over thirty years in a barber shop, so tell me something funny.

KP: And clean.

Me: Yeah!

KP: Well, I need to think on it. There’s a lot of things that’s happened, but somebody might think I’m picking on somebody.


Me: Do you have a specialty?

KP: Yeah, some people may say it’s a flat top, haha! ….  Dad’s the one you need to tell the stories.

Me: Does he still come in here?

KP: Occasionally. (Customer chimes in, “When Ken goes to car shows.”) Yes, and when I get sick.

We then reminisce about Lenny stories. That’s the thing about the barber shop. We tend to chat about things not for the blog, but we are having the conversations that make up a community. Sharing about how people are doing, who got embarrassed about whatnot, the owner of the house that just sold right down the street, and such. No matter who you are, I encourage you to go visit Ken’s. It’s a visit you won’t soon forget.


7 East Liberty Street, York, SC 29745


Personal Update

So HOW are you doing now? How’s real estate going? …

Oh, you’re doing music? (Y’all also mentally add, “Can you live on that??”)


Are you selling the house? Couldn’t you just put a sign in the front yard since you’re an agent? How are the boys with all this?

What about dating? Have you thought about dating? Have you met anyone? What do the boys think about you dating?

I’m telling you!

Since my divorce, lots of well meaning and genuinely caring friends have tended to ask the same questions repeatedly. Or they’ve had a look on their faces that says, “I have SOOO many questions, but it’s probably inappropriate to ask.” And here’s the thing. I really don’t mind sharing (to a certain degree) how we’re doing and where our journey has led us thus far. So without further adieu, here are the answers to your most burning questions about my new life (because I know we’re just SOOO exciting, lol!)

Careerwise, I kept attempting to balance music and real estate, and I felt spread way too thin. I honestly enjoy both careers, but the daily frustration of balancing short term financial needs and long term career goals proved too much. I have chosen to focus on music, keep my real estate license in referral status, and give up the future to God. Truly. My life works much more smoothly when I let go of fear and live confidently in the day I have at hand. And that kind of confidence for me only comes through faith, prayer, and self care.

Practically in the day to day, this means that I am available for real estate questions, and I can guide customers to people that are experts on a variety of real estate related fields. I listen, assess, and refer people to those best suited for each situation. Because I am not taking personal clients, this allows me to focus more fully on teaching music. I teach violin, viola, and beginning cello. I currently take students in my home studio, at Tillman Music in Rock Hill, and I am one of the string directors for Piedmont Music Academy during the school year.

In personal news, the boys and I are busy living our lives. We still participate in homeschooling, summers at the pool, and various extracurricular activities. Things have shifted a bit, but then things tend to shift with each new life stage anyway. I have promised the boys we will continue this lifestyle through the current school year and then evaluate needs again at that time.

I have no intentions of selling my home just yet. This house has been the boys’ refuge and landing place through a whole lot of growth these past seven years, and for their sake, I am staying put until there is a reason for us to do something differently. While we ponder possibilities of moving to new places or even just into the city or buying a farm in the country or building a tiny home on the lake, we are simply dreaming right now. Brainstorming out loud. It’s fun! There are certain to be changes in our future, but for now we’ll take the dreaming and the daily bread and be grateful.

Divorce is such a hard experience, but not everything that comes from this journey is negative. Many positive growth opportunities have challenged me, stretched me, and woken me up to so many new possibilities. I am a better person for having gone through divorce. The boys continue to encourage me and express how proud they’ve become of me for trying new experiences and entering the world again as my own individual. They have also matured and done a bit of soul searching that makes a momma drop to her knees at times. The amount of kindness and introspective beauty they’ve developed through this journey is a true gift to witness. So while we continue to evolve and grow, we cheer each other on in all of our new endeavors, and it is an honor to be their mother. 

Now, as for dating, well, that’s personal. At least for now.

Peace. Love. Grace.