Starting each day with a conversation is a tradition at Park Hill Barbers in Denver. It’s a tradition that’s been around as long as shop owner Jesse Scott.
“We open each day with a prayer,” said Scott. “Thanking him for a new day that wasn’t promised to us.”
For about 30 years, he’s owned various barbershops in the 5 Points and Park Hill neighborhoods. Each of them with the common thread of good conversation.
“You can get good some advice, some good encouragement, good haircut and we can tell you some good restaurants to go to,” Scott said.
“It’s just always been a very positive atmosphere,” said longtime customer Travis Broxton. “The conversations have always been great… whether it's sports or politics or religion."
Broxton has been a customer of Scott’s since the early 1980s and says even in mixed company, nobody is off limits.
“They might be a Raiders fan, we can still give him a hard time,” Broxton said, “and walk away, shake hands and hug each other because we had a great conversation.”
“Yeah, we can get going and then we back down, we can’t get too involved,” Scott said.
You can even get a little fashion advice.
“Because they need to pull their pants up and see that there are positive men in the community,” said Scott.
Scott is an elder in his church, Antioch Church of God and Christ… and because of his faith, he’s helping his community by being a role model concerned for the safety of young people.
“It’s not as bad in Denver as it is in Chicago, but these young folks are still being shot down,” Scott said.
That’s one reason why he decided to cover the walls of his barbershop with pictures of positive role models for young men. Role models who were all customers in his chairs.
“Wellington Webb, David Thompson, Chauncey Billups,” Scott said. “Alex English and [Dikembe] Mutombo and all those guys used to come to me and I used to cut their hair... it was just an honor.”
Photos: Meaningful conversation and... haircuts?
“He has a lot of history on the walls,” said Broxton, “just look around you have Muhammad Ali, (and) you have Dr. J.”
“This is history at this barbershop,” said customer Jeremy Ross, “he’s been doing it for years.”
An honor to hang their pictures making everyone who walked through his doors feel like family.
“It’s like he’s a part of our family,” said customer Jarel Ross, “he’s like our second uncle that we never had.”
“Whenever somebody comes into the place, Jesse makes it a point to introduce you to that person,” Broxton said.
Scott is trying to hold on to a history of a neighborhood in transition and embrace the change that’s around him.
“In this community, it’s a melting pot where we do everybody,” Scott said. “It’s a fellowship with everyone.”
“The complexion of the area has changed,” Broxton said. “It’s important to have those hubs where you can still go.”
An important hub with a little secret.
“The secret is…I prayed over their heads and they didn’t know what was happening,” Scott said.
A shop where this family barber will continue the tradition of meaningful conversation with hopes of spreading a positive message.
“It’s the fellowship that you have with brothers and the individual… that’s the key,” Scott said.