COLUMBIA — In a small barbershop at the Parkade Center in Columbia, amid the hum of the clippers and the whoosh of hair aprons being put on, there's another common sound — laughter.
JT's Cutz barbershop, owned by Columbia resident James Carter, serves not only as a barber shop, but also as a place to hang out, talk and have a good time, Carter said.
The shop is a bit of a rarity in Boone County because it is a business owned by a black person. According to the 2002 U.S. Census Bureau survey of Boone County business owners, the number of businesses owned by black people in Boone County is too low to be statistically reported.
Carter said he is unsure why there are so few businesses owned by black people in Columbia, but said it could be due to the competitive business market in the county.
"You know everybody needs a haircut," he said. "As far as something like the restaurant business, you know, there's so much competition it's hard to stay open doing other things."
Although more recent census data will be released in early 2011, Carter said that in the years he has been open, little has changed in the climate for businesses owned by black people.
"You don't really see to many new ones open up," he said.
But right now, business is good for Carter. On any given Saturday afternoon, you can see old friends meeting up, children laughing (or crying at the sight of the barber's chair) and the the pulse of life that flows through his shop.