The South Carolina House of Representatives recently introduced and passed a resolution to recognize and honor Taylor’s Barbershop in Marion. The family-owned barbershop received this accolade one year after it celebrated its 100th birthday. The century old shop still has many original items from its opening in 1914 including a coatrack, back bar and mirrors on the wall. It even has its original flooring.
Taylor’s Barbershop has withheld the test of time but that’s not the only thing that makes it special. Thomas E. Taylor was the African-American founder of the shop at a time when minority owned businesses were uncommon. “I’d be willing to bet you it’s probably the oldest minority business in the state that’s still owned by the same family, except for maybe a farm,” said Wendell Patterson, Taylor’s great-grandson.
Taylor’s success was attributed to his ability to earn the respect and business of white clients during a time when blacks and whites rarely shared the same space. In fact, his obituary in 1935 described him as a “white man’s barber”.
The shop, known for its haircuts, offered a multitude of services in its early days including a place for travelers to shower and freshen up as well as a steam room. But that’s not all. “We used to pull teeth, do minor sew ups,” said Mack McClellan, a barber at Taylor’s for 44 years.
McClellan, also known as Mr. Mack says that parents drop their kids off at the shop knowing that they will receive an acceptable haircut and be safe until they pick them up. He has cut hair for generations of families and has even been known to make house calls or come to the hospital for those who are unable to make it to the shop.
“I don’t want to give it up, as long as I can stand and cut hair. I’d like to continue on. I really do love it,” said McClellan.