James (Jim) Moore, Jr., owner, Moore’s Barber Shop (son of founder)
4807 Lee Highway, Arlington, VA
Interview conducted by Sarah Steller on March 21, 2017
Mr. James Moore, Sr., established Moore’s Barber Shop in Hall’s Hill in 1960. In 2002, the elder Mr. Moore retired and turned over the business to his son, James Moore, Jr. He had been working in the shop since he was seven years old, sweeping the floors and doing other odd tasks, and eventually joining as a full—time barber in 1991. The barber shop has long been known as place for not only a great haircut, but also lively conversation and a friendly atmosphere. Its walls are papered with photos of clients and other memorabilia marking historic moments in the D.C. region and country.
Mr. Jim Moore, Sr., started the barber shop in 1960, originally with a partner and at a different location a few blocks down on Lee Highway (where the KFC is now). The younger Mr. Moore started working in the shop when he was 7 years old, sweeping the floors and doing other odds and ends for a dollar per day. This continued through his youth. In 1991 he started working there full time as a barber, which allowed Mr. Moore Sr. to step back a bit from his work until he fully retired in 2002. Mr. Moore explained that many of the small independent barber shops don’t exist anymore due to competition with low—cost chains. Historically, the barber shop business was one of the few businesses black men could open and use to support their families. The barber shop is about personal service and relationships, and Moore’s has been able to maintain those over the years. They have generations of clients now who have been coming there for decades, and many from far away. Many young people who come are not as engaged in conversations, and Mr. Moore has had to use social media more to promote their shop in addition to word of mouth.
“So the barber shop business, historically, was one of the few businesses black men could do and have their own business and raise their family and generate money, without the help of anyone, so that’s really how it came up through history.”Jim Moore Jr., owner
“We still provide great service. So, ultimately, the barber shop… I mean you can go a lot of places and get your hair cut OK or fairly well, good enough. And so really the barber shop business is about personal relationships. And so we’ve been able to maintain those relationships throughout the years.”Jim Moore Jr., owner
“Even here, we used to sit around and talk and watch sports. Back in the day, my dad didn’t have a TV. He had a newspaper and then you communicated the old fashioned way. So then we had a TV and people watched TV and communicated about sports, when I came in. Now what people are doing is looking at their phone, and if you say something interesting they might engage, but it’s harder and harder to get people to, younger people to interact that way.”Jim Moore Jr., owner
Full Interview on Arlington’s WERA 96.7