If you’ve never had your hair cut by Glennwood Worrell, chances are you are not from Carroll County.
Worrell, who will celebrate his 77th birthday on November 27, has been trimming the manes of Hillsville customers since finishing barber school in 1962 in Richmond. For the past 54 years, he’s been cutting the hair of local citizens from a teenage Frank Beamer during his Hillsville High School days, to the late Dr. Early, Dr. Martin and Dr. Worrell, Sr. In between, there have been thousands more everyday citizens who’ve gotten a trim from Worrell.
“I had to do something to make a living,” Worrell said.
After finishing barber school in Richmond, Worrell moved back to Hillsville in May of 1962. His first job was cutting hair at a barber shop in the basement of the old Hillmont Hotel across from the Hillsville Diner on Main Street. Worrell worked there until July of 1969, when he began cutting hair at a barber shop on Court Street in Hillsville. After 15 years there, he bought his current place of business, Worrell’s Barber Shop, where he opened the day after Labor Day in 1984. The barber shop, located at 802 Main Street, was originally built in 1949 and owned by Owen Morris at the time.
It’s easy to see why Worrell’s Barber Shop continues to stand the test of time after all these years. For starters, walking into the Hillsville business is like an escape in many ways, allowing customers to seemingly take a trip back in time. There’s also the playful banter between Worrell and his son, Kevin, also a barber at the shop. The two like to joke and pick on each other, taking the term “cut up” literally. Customers are fair game, too.
“We’ve always gotten along good and it feels good in two ways – to go in and go out. My head feels better after a haircut and I’m always upbeat from carrying on with them. They are pleasant to talk to,” said Lowell Stanley, who said he’s been getting his haircut by Worrell since the late 1960s.
Stanley said Glennwood and Kevin Worrell both have great memories. If you ever “mess up,” he said they will never let you live it down. Such was the case for Stanley many years ago.
“There was a gentleman waiting to get a haircut and Glennwood had cut two or three flat tops in a row, short ones like mine. He said to that gentleman about the time he got through with me, I believe flat tops are all we are cutting today,” Stanley said. “About that time, the man said, ‘I just remembered something I need to do.’ And he took off and I don’t reckon he ever came back. He still mentions that when I go in, that I was the one he finished on when that happened.”
Another time, Stanley had been waiting a while to get a haircut. As he sat patiently, he said he was looking at a magazine with his legs crossed.
“I no more realized one leg had feel asleep, and when they called me I got up and fell right in the middle of the floor,” Stanley said. “Kevin won’t ever let me forget that one.”
Judge Edward M. Turner, III said he’s been in and out of Worrell’s Barber Shop since he was 10 years old, back when Morris owned the business and former Hillsville Police Chief Kenny Sharpe was the shoe shine boy. After the shop closed for a period of time, Turner took his business to Court Street and he’s been getting his hair cut by Worrell ever since.
“I’ve had my hair cut in Asia and all over the United States, but I’ve always had better haircuts from Kevin and Glennwood than anywhere else in the world,” Turner said. “It’s a great bargain and I don’t understand why men still go to the beauty shop. Those guys are great and you really get your dollars’ worth in there. There are not many of the old-style barbers out there anymore and it is tough to find a good barber shop.”
Worrell has been in the barber business so long a haircut cost 75 cents for a kid and one dollar for an adult when he started in 1962. In 1984, when he opened Worrell’s Barber Shop, the cost was still just $4.
“And he is probably still cheaper than anybody around,” said Worrell’s grandson, Casey O’Bryan. “My mom, Teresa Keyes, has cut hair there for many years, and her brother, Kevin, has been cutting for around 20 years with my grandfather, so it has always been a family business.”
Worrell has stayed active in the community, O’Bryan said, as a member of the Hillsville Masonic Lodge for 27 years and as part of the Shriners for 25 years. Worrell also hands out candy during Safe Halloween and gave his grandsons, Casey O’Bryan and Jamie Whitaker, their first haircuts.
“He has always enjoyed seeing his grandkids come in and get their haircuts and watching them grow up,” O’Bryan said.
Jim Dalton, the mailman in Laurel Fork for 34 years before his retirement, has also been a long-time customer of Worrell’s. He used to go to Floyd’s Barber Shop in Mount Airy, N.C. to get his hair cut by the late Russell Hiatt, but enjoys the atmosphere of Worrell’s Barber Shop.
“They are good fellows and we like to give each other a hard time. Both of them give a good haircut and so does his daughter. I recommend them,” Dalton said. “Kevin always tells me they are the best barber shop in town. Of course, it’s the only one in town, but he’s still right.”
Worrell is one of five children born to the late Howard and Alvilda Worrell. He was born in Carroll County and raised in Dugspur until he was 12. The family then moved to Cecil Dalton’s dairy farm off Route 100. Worrell lived there until March 15, 1960 when he married his wife of 50 years, the late Lorretta Cox Worrell. The couple had two children, Kevin and Teresa, six grandchildren and seven great-grandchildren.
“He has always been known to us as Pa. All his grandkids are very close with him and we all hope he knows how much we love him,” said O’Bryan. “Pa has always been the type of man to do anything and everything to help someone, even if he shouldn’t, and we all want to wish him a happy 77th birthday.”
Allen Worrell can be reached at (276) 779-4602 or on Twitter@AWorrellTCN