JC’s Barber Shop is a cut above the rest

Abbey Tanner

With a can-do attitude, Junius Carpenter, owner of JC’s Barber Shop, recently cut ties with his previous business location in favor of one that better highlights the business.

JC’s Barber Shop, originally located at 534 Second St. for over half a century, picked up its storefront and relocated to 1403 Adams St.

Junius Carpenter, 53, of Bowling Green worked for his father Jimmie Carpenter after completing barber college and has now taken over the family business. The business consists of four barbers: Junius Carpenter, Jimmie Carpenter, Junius’ nephew Byron Carpenter and Dale Spearman of Glasgow.

The shop’s previous location was in the same building as Junius Carpenter’s wife’s day care business. He soon realized his business could benefit from relocating because his wife’s business was thriving, and they were low on space.

“It actually became a better location for the day care than it was for the barber shop,” Junius Carpenter said. “With a barber shop, you need community around it.”

Because the location was a vital part of his family history, Junius Carpenter knew a move would be a difficult change to get everyone to support.

“A year or two ago, I told myself there was no way I would leave from down there,” Junius Carpenter said. “It would have to be the perfect location for me to leave.”

He said he wasn’t sure if relocating was an option but started to look around due to lack of space on Second Street. He noticed on his drive home from work every day that the Adams Street location, previously the Army Surplus Store, was empty.

After scoping it out, researching the location and forming a vision, Junius Carpenter had found that perfect spot. The redevelopment around Adams Street was the reason he decided to move.

“That was really the reason I moved up here because of the redevelopment they’re doing up here with the apartments for the students and the neighborhood behind us on the railroad tracks,” Junius Carpenter said. “It’s a dynamic location it takes for a barber shop to thrive.”

He said even though the previous location didn’t have that environment, the shop’s clientele was so strong that people would still make the drive for a hair cut.

“Years ago when I first started, it was a neighborhood, and people would walk to the barber shop.” Junius Carpenter said, “so we kind of got that again.”

Byron Carpenter, 39, of Bowling Green has worked under his grandfather and uncle for 11 years. After graduating from Southern Kentucky Barber School, he started his career as a barber at JC’s.

Byron Carpenter said he thought they would lose the store’s history by moving locations, but he believes the history has remained intact.

With the Americana color scheme, a picture wall of family photos and vintage barber chairs, JC’s has kept a traditional feel.

For Byron Carpenter, cutting hair has involved learning history from older men who enter the shop to tell stories or discuss their lives while receiving the shop’s services.

“It’s more than just cutting hair,” he said. “You don’t realize how you can change someone’s life by listening to them vent. It’s the conversations and stories that hooked me.”

With the new move on Feb. 10, the barber shop has already seen many new faces, especially from WKU students. However, the move hasn’t kept their regular customers from visiting.

“It was a challenge to see if I could do it, but I got the ball rolling and things started coming together,” Junius Carpenter said.

Dale Spearman, 45, from Glasgow has been working at JC’s Barber Shop since November 2015. Even though he has been working with the Carpenters for a short time, he said it has been an honor to work for them.

“A barber shop is, one way or another, white or black,” Spearman said. “I really wanted to see a neutral barber shop.”

With the new location, Spearman said, he was fully supportive of the expansion.

“The diversity of it is absolutely great,” Spearman said. “With the move here, everything has picked up dramatically.”

Spearhead said Bosnians, Hispanics and Caucasians have been customers of JC’s even though the shop’s clientele before the move was predominantly African-American.

“I love it. I want to do it for the rest of my life,” Spearman said of his profession.

JC’s Barber Shop will be having an open house for the public in May to show off its new location and commemorate Jimmie Carpenter’s 67 years in the business.