CORNELIUS, N.C. — The first Black-owned and integrated barbershop in Cornelius is making history with a special designation.
Pott’s Barbershop has been in Cornelius since the 1950s and has now been declared a historical landmark.
What You Need To Know
- Potts Barbershop has been a fixture in Cornelius since the 1950s, and it's making history once again
- The barbershop was the first integrated barbershop in town and is the oldest business owned by African Americans in Cornelius
- In October, the barbershop was designated as a historic landmark by the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Historical Landmark Commission
- Gerald Potts, the shop’s owner, will receive a plaque for the barbershop at a special ceremony in February to celebrate Black History Month
Gerald “Mickey” Potts, the barbershop’s owner, was born and raised in Cornelius, and said the town has gone through massive changes in the last few years.
He’s watching as the new Cain Fine Arts Center is built next door to his family’s business, and said he was initially worried the shop would disappear.
“Daddy worked hard to get it, and to let it slip away without a fight would be devastating,” he said.
Pott’s Barbershop has been in the same spot on Catawba Avenue since the 1960s. The building was designated as a historic landmark by the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Historical Landmark Commission in October.
The shop is the oldest business owned by African Americans in Cornelius.
In addition to the 70 years of tradition, the shop also broke barriers.
“From 1960 to 1972 we were Black barbers cutting white hair, then in '72 we integrated,” Potts said.
Pott’s Barbershop became the first integrated barbershop in town, and likely in northern Mecklenburg County.
“It really makes me proud,” Potts said.
Preservation advocates reached out to Potts in 2020 to make sure his family’s store wouldn’t disappear with the new developments. With the new designation, Potts is hopeful future generations will fill the shop and continue the family tradition.
The family will receive a plaque for the barbershop at a special ceremony in February to celebrate Black History Month.
Pott’s dad, Wilson Potts, opened the original shop in 1952.