This Is Carolina: North Myrtle Beach barbershop celebrating 70 years of business

Published: Feb. 25, 2022 at 6:37 PM EST
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NORTH MYRTLE BEACH, S.C. (WMBF) - Running a small business is one of the toughest tasks out there.

In fact, statistics from the Small Business Administration say about half of small businesses across the country don’t survive past five years.

One business in North Myrtle Beach is defying those odds.

Ocean Drive Barbershop is celebrating 70 years of business this year.

Nestled along Main Street in North Myrtle Beach, the shop has been around longer than a lot of its customers since first opening in 1952.

Bobby Lewis’ father started the barbershop, and he began working there as a young boy.

“He started me out shining shoes and sweeping the floor in here. I was 11 years old,” he said.

Lewis started cutting hair at age 19 and at age 80, he still hasn’t stopped.

Walking inside Ocean Drive Barbershop is like talking a step back in time.

“Everything in here is antique. And that includes the barbers too,” Lewis joked.

The phone in the shop is a rotary phone, and the cash register is even older than the shop.

In fact, it’s been around for 106 years.

“It’s just been part of the shop ever since we’ve been here,” Lewis said. “Everybody enjoys that register.”

The way the store operates is also old school. For example, they don’t accept appointments or credit cards.

It’s walk-ins and cash only.

While most business owners rush to keep up with the latest technology, Lewis is just fine with keeping things the way they’ve always been.

“We’ve talked about it, you know, taking credit cards. I know one day, it’s probably going to come down to that, but as long as I’m here I think I’ll just keep it cash only,” Lewis said.

The shop also has its own charm - from countless pieces of old memorabilia lined along the walls and windows. That includes a clock that runs backward unless you look at it through the mirror that covers the back wall.

Over the years, Lewis has made countless memories, cutting the hair of up to four generations of some families.

He’s not planning on stopping any time soon, either.

“When you enjoy your work, you don’t consider it work,” Lewis said. “It gives me something to do, because I’m a widower. I live by myself, and it gets me out of the house, and I just look forward to coming to work.”

Lewis says his sons and grandsons haven’t shown much interest in continuing the family business, but he tries not to think too hard about the future.

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