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March 9, 2020

This Black-Owned Barbershop Opened More Than 70 Years Ago — And They Are Still in Business!


Arnette's Barbershop was founded by Charles Arnette in 1945 in Carbondale, Illinois back when barbershops were more than just a place to get a hair cut; They also hosted community meetings for civil rights activists who were fighting for change. Under its new owner, Kent Mason, the barbershop has remained thriving and relevant to the community even after 75 years, making it one of the oldest Black-owned businesses in the area.
As a child, Mason often visited Arnette's Barbershop to get his haircut done. Eventually, he decided to study at a barbering college and went on to work on the same barbershop with Arnette who he considered his mentor until he died in 1983. Two years later, Mason took over the business after buying it from Arnette's widow.

Mason, who is also turning 75-years old this year, decided to keep the original business name, Arnette's, as it holds a very special sentimental value to the community. The barbershop has also stood strong in the same location it was built 75 years ago. Credits go out to the community that continued supporting the barbershop as much as Mason and the barbers supported the community.

“You don’t just get a haircut, you get an experience. There are good vibes in here,” one customer told the The Daily Egyptian.

More than just a barbershop, Arnette's also served as a training ground for young Black barbers who were encouraged to open their own barbershop as well. Good conversations while getting a hair cut have also been inspirational to the loyal customers at Arnette's

"We have individuals come in and they're depressed, stressed about some things that's happened. Giving them a haircut and a wet shave makes them feel better about themselves," said Hughes.