New Jersey Barbershop Has Been A Group Staple Since 1940

Aug 3, 2023 0 Comments

A Black lady inherited a household enterprise again within the Sixties. If not suggested by her father, the enterprise could not have lasted lengthy sufficient to develop into one of many oldest Black-owned companies locally.

In accordance with, Eddie’s Barbershop proprietor Valerie Roberts was handed the household enterprise and felt that the neighborhood of Asbury Park would want extra time to be prepared for a lady barber who can minimize simply in addition to the boys. She didn’t need to undergo the difficulties that folks within the metropolis will not be ready to see a woman barber within the neighborhood. However, as a consequence of some recommendation from her father, she stayed.

“I advised my father I used to be going again to New York as a result of this metropolis isn’t prepared for a woman barber,” mentioned the 80-year-old Roberts. “He advised me in case you run from tough conditions, I’d by no means make it in life.”

That and her resilience have saved her within the neighborhood the place the enterprise nonetheless operates immediately.

Roberts’ father, Edward Hilton, opened the barbershop on Springwood Avenue close to Dewitt in 1940. After operating the enterprise for over 20 years, his well being began to fail, so she took over Eddie’s Barbershop.

As with all enterprise, Roberts needed to survive throughout tough instances. She mentioned the enterprise was virtually misplaced as a consequence of race riots within the Nineteen Seventies.

“That Fourth of July was one of many scariest days I can keep in mind,” she recalled. “Cops stood on the observe with rifles able to shoot anybody attempting to cross over into the nicer a part of Asbury.

“A good friend of mine helped me take away the whole lot within the store through the looting and conceal it in his grocery retailer,” Roberts mentioned. “It wasn’t simple, however we survived.”

Eugene Berry has been getting his haircut at Eddie’s Barbershop for over 20 years and plans to proceed that custom.

“Val is an instance of what Asbury Park needs to be,” mentioned Berry. “She’s a residing instance of perseverance and the one one I’d let contact these curls.”

Now, Roberts needs to proceed the legacy and hand the enterprise all the way down to her grandson.

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