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Cutting Edge

Cutting Edge

Ethnic barber shops are suddenly hot, and none more so than Emory Hammonds’ place in Southland Mall in Whitehaven.

The Barber Shop has grown from six chairs in 1996 to 23 chairs in three times the space today. Male and female barbers dressed in black and white jerseys man the chairs, swap gossip with customers, and join in the ongoing chess game in the mall concourse outside the store when business is slow.

The movie comedy Barbershop about a shop in Chicago sparked a surge of national news stories about the role barbershops play in the black community. Hammonds , 35, has known that for years. After seven years of working for other barbers, he opened his first store at Southland Mall in 1996, and expanded to the Mall of Memphis in ’98 and Raleigh Springs Mall in ’99. The Whitehaven store is his best location because Hammonds, his staff, and mall management have taken pains to make it a fixture in the surrounding residential community.