Home for Haircuts A customer receives the final touches on his beard after his hair is cut by barber Jeffery Warren on August 31. Warren, founder and owner of Signature Kutz, says he tries to make the Durham-based barber shop feel “homey, real comfortable. Like a living room.” The four barbers of Signature Kutz have been providing haircuts to the local community and beyond since 2010 and is a staple business in the East Durham community. Warren describes East Durham as a place which has seen a lot of revitalization in the past few decades, which has in turn made the barber shop a safer place. Much of the surrounding neighborhoods have many low-income and single-parent households, says Warren, so the barbershop adjusts its prices to make haircuts accessible to all families. “Seeing kids grow up from a baby, when dad bring their sons in, you’ll see them grow up, and then see their sons grow up, until they graduate from highschool too,” says Warren. “Building relationships with the customers, to me that’s the best part of it.” A packed waiting room is the usual scene at the barber shop on Fridays and Saturdays. The shop is open from 6 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Saturdays and often the barbers will be on their feet the whole time, taking appointments and walk-in customers alike. Often families will lounge in the waiting room together, watching television and talking with each other as they wait for their haircut. Barber Rodney Brower laughs with a young customer before cutting his hair. “We have conversations with all ages,” owner Jeffery Warren says. “We ask them what they do in school We try to ask them what they learned today. You have to be a people person. You know, sometimes there’s a time to talk, and sometimes a time to be quiet.” Eric Garrett makes a face with his mother, Sheka Garrett, as they wait for his haircut. The family are regulars at the shop and they know the barbers well. Marcus Harris looks on at his son, Chris, as he gets his hair trimmed. Harris is the founder of the Marcus Harris foundation, a non-profit organization that has developed services and programs to reach underserved communities in Durham and surrounding areas. One of the programs, called Kutz for Kids, receives donations from the public so local kids can receive free haircuts from Signature Kutz. After receiving a free haircut from barber Derrick Traylor, Malachi Thorpe holds up a promotional card for Kutz for Kids. Each recipient gets his or her picture taken after their free haircut. Although many scenes in the barber shop are ones of joy and laughter, sometimes customers come in needing advice or consolation from the barbers. “All walks of life come in here,” Warren says. “We get to know the person.” In a quiet moment before closing, Jordan McNeil sheds a tear while getting his haircut. Barbers often do not get a break between customers on the weekends. “Some people say it’s not a real job, because sometimes they come in seeing us sitting down, listening to music or watching TV,” Warren says of barbering. “But sometimes they don’t see us when we’re real busy, standing up for 8 hours, doing our thing. You know, it can be a lot. All the different hairstyles people want. It can get strenuous at times.” Brower sweeps up after cutting a customer’s hair, preparing for the next customer.