The front window of the Midway Barber Shop is being held together with strips of packing tape.
Owner Stepney Edwards found the damaged window Monday morning when he was opening for the day, and so he did what he could do to fix it.
It’s not the first time Edwards’ business has been targeted, he said. But it’s the first time in about 20 years that’s he’s had to deal with a broken front window.
“If it’s not one thing, it’s another,” said Edwards, who has been a barber for 35 years. “It’s been a constant thing.”
Midway Barber Shop is one of the oldest African American-owned business in Carrboro. It dates to the early 1950s when Edwards’ father used money from the G.I. Bill after World War II to start it.
Over the years he’s dealt with the power to his shop being shut off, tagged with graffiti and with other small acts of mischief.
But he finds the timing of this act vandalism suspicious.
Last week tensions in Chapel Hill flared when the Confederate monument Silent Sam on UNC-Chapel Hill’s campus was pulled down.
His Rosemary Street shop shares a building with other businesses — a bar, a tattoo parlor and a smoke shop — on the border of Chapel Hill and Carrboro. Their storefronts were not damaged.
Edwards has no idea who broke his window. He thinks a high-powered BB gun was used. Several tiny holes pocked the glass with cracks racing away from them.
Fixing a plate glass window is not cheap. He said it will cost about $2,500. That’s a lot of haircuts. His rates vary depending on the style and type of haircut customers want. Each is negotiated, he said.
Thursday morning business was brisk at Midway.
Edwards and two other barbers clipped and shaved customers as others waited for their turn in a chair. When the small talk died down, the hum of their electric clippers and razors could be heard. Edwards finishes his cuts with a flourish from a well-worn barber brush that sweeps aside any remaining clippings.
Edwards has six chairs in his shop but only three are being used. A “Help Wanted” sign was taped in the broken window trying to entice prospective barbers into the business.
“I always keep it up,” Edwards said. “It’s like any other business. People come and people go. Finding good people to work is hard.”