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.
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.
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