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A Denney for Your Thoughts – Trail leads to Erwin

By Connie Denney

There’s a new barber in town.  He walked into a business opportunity—literally and figuratively.

Meet Trevor Davis, the 29-year-old behind the chair at the barber shop on Carolina Avenue.  How he came to follow Ricky (Rick to some) Wilson, long-time proprietor of City Barber Shop, is an interesting story.  There’s a lesson in it for the whole community.

The day Davis told me his story he had been in business two days and was pleased with how things were going.  As we sat in the shop, he answered questions willingly and politely.  It was easy, though, to tell where his great interests lie as topics turned to cutting hair, or to the great outdoors.

He finished 2,000 hours at the Flint (Michigan) Institute of Barbering in February, left Springer Mountain, Georgia, in April to hike the Appalachian Trail for the first time.  He made it to Damascus, Virginia, a month or so later. Having cut other hikers’ hair on the trail, he continued as a church there gave away haircuts as a part of the town’s Trail Days celebration.

July 3rd found him in Erwin.  His first impression—other than “civilization, laundry, shower, food”—the “river took my breath.”  Although he started his hike aiming for that lobster dinner in Maine at the end of the Trail, he really wanted to see the Smokies, having fallen in love with the mountains at age 6.  Here he appreciates the mountains surrounding a big valley.  He has also been struck by the friendliness shown him.

Born in Texas, Davis moved at age 2 to the Detroit area with his family. An Eagle Scout, he credits Scouting for inspiring love of the outdoors. His interest in sports includes keeping up with what’s going on with cycling on the professional level. He enjoys riding himself, a bicycle his main form of transportation right now.

“Oh, yeah” is his response to being in a place where a good deal of the county is in public lands.  Trevor values being close to the mountains, a powerful free-flowing river, the wilderness, linear trail and, yet, near his work, the town and an interstate highway.

He met Wilson for the first time when he came into the shop to get a haircut.  As they talked, he learned of Rick’s wanting to retire and things developed from there. He talked with Rick, realized the opportunity, and now, finds himself doing what he has known for a long time he wanted to do.

Trevor learned as a kid that his barber loved his work.  In high school he knew he did not want to enter the corporate world, but did want to have his own business.  Two years before barber school, he cut hair for friends and family and realized he was good at it.  There “is art to it,” he explains, noting that the profession is hundreds of years old. 

Recognition of this community and its setting within such a special place in the universe is a compliment not to be taken lightly.  It is evidence that a small mountain town with easy access to unspoiled outdoor beauty, yet within easy travel to other amenities, has much to promote without changing who we are.

(For a feature story about Rick Wilson, see page 10-A.)