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Goolsby Hair World withstands test of time

Bruce Newman Shawn Wadley, standing, prepares to cut Freddie Holmes’ hair at Goolby’s Hair World in Oxford on Friday.

Bruce Newman
Shawn Wadley, standing, prepares to cut Freddie Holmes’ hair at Goolby’s Hair World in Oxford on Friday.

During Black History Month, on each Sunday, the EAGLE will feature a long-standing local business owned and operated by African Americans citizens.

 

Bessie Dixon sat in the salon chair with her apron draped across her. She was getting her hair ironed and curled Friday at Goolsby Hair World, the place she’s gone to for more than 40 years, entrusting her hair to Willie Frank and Bobbie Goolsby.

Dixon suffers from a middle-ear condition, so washing her hair takes special care – care, she says the Goolsbys provide with a loving touch.

“They take care of me,” she said. “They always have. Willie used to do my hair then when Bobbie joined him, she did it. Sometimes he still does if Bobbie isn’t available.”

Dixon said she gives Bobbie full reign over her hair.

“I just let her do what she wants,” Dixon said with a chuckle. “Sometimes she’s got a new style she wants to try.”

Goolsby Hair World, which serves as both a barber shop and hair salon, has been shaping the hair, and sometimes minds, of Oxford’s African American community since 1967.

Willie Goolsby started cutting hair in 1963 when he worked at a barber shop owned by Nolia Banks. In 1967, he bought a small shop from Vaster Lockhart, located behind Wily’s Shoe Shop on the east side of the Square, in the building that is now St. Leo Restaurant.

In 1980, he moved to the shop’s current location on East Jackson Avenue where he and his family have been in businesses ever since.

Bobbie went to cosmetology school and received her license in the 1980s. Their daughter, Carolyn Allen, also works at the shop, along with two of their nephews.

Like Dixon, many of their customers have been coming to the shop for decades.

“I got a lady from Water Valley who started coming when I was still in beauty school,” Bobbie said. “I like talking to people and getting to know them. And of course, I like doing hair. I love it.”

Dwight Johnson has worked for the Goolsbys for 40 years. He says it’s the shop’s customer service that keeps people coming back year after year.

“It’s all about how you treat people,” he said. “You treat them as a family member more than just a customer.”

Johnson said customers will sometimes just come to the shop to sit and talk.

“People tell you their troubles,” he said. “You’re more than just someone doing their hair.”

Goolsby Hair World is located at 814 Jackson Ave. E. For more information, call 662-234-7042.