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Haircuts and History: Gordy's Barber Shop in Sandersville

Gordy’s Barber Shop was founded in 1951. This shop is located in the historic Lucas Smith Building on Gilmore Street which was once home to many Black businesses.

WASHINGTON COUNTY, Ga. — To celebrate Black History Month, we'll be visiting locations across Central Georgia that speak to the heart and soul of the African-American community.

Gordy’s Barber Shop was founded in 1951. It's located in the historic Smith-Lucas Building on Gilmore Street, which was once home to many Black businesses in Sandersville like a café, a dentist's office, and a florist.

The building also held an auditorium where many famous figures are said to have performed such as Little Richard, James Brown, and others.

Today, the barber shop is one of the last original businesses in the building.

“People would come here and they would be able to get their hair cut. You could also go upstairs; there was an auditorium upstairs, they had social events,” said Eddie Mae Miller with the Washington County Historical Society.

The current owner of Gordy’s Barber Shop, David Gordy, took over the family business after his father died in 1998.

Gordy has been cutting hair and giving shaves since he was 12. He started off shining shoes and sweeping floors around the shop before eventually becoming the certified master barber he is today.

He grew up on a farm in Washington County and says when he was a boy, it excited him to come into town with his father. He said serving people in the shop became a part of who they were.

He says Gilmore Street housed some of the only places African-Americans could go during segregation in the South.

“Now, it was no integration at the time. You couldn’t go uptown and sit down to eat anywhere. You can go and sit down and eat anywhere you want to now, and the barber shop was always here,” he said.

Gordy, who is now 69, has formed bonds spanning multiple generations with his clients. He says he’s so proud to continue serving the community with his family. He even has people who remember getting their first-ever haircut in his shop.

“I have boys come back, men come back, now saying ‘I remember when I got my first haircut in here, your father cut my hair.’ So, we’re a 3rd or 4th generation barber shop. We cut the grandfathers, the fathers, then the sons and we cut their sons. We’re just proud of it,” said Gordy.

You can visit Gordy’s Barber Shop at 125 Gilmore Street in Sandersville. They are open Monday-Saturday from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. They are closed on Wednesdays and Sundays.

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