Bowie resident Daniel Dunbar was excited to go to work Friday morning.
It was the first time the five-year Ebony Barbers Unisex employee used his clippers in the Silver Spring shop since June, when the business was targeted by what was believed to be an arson fire. Friday, nearly three months after the fire, the barber shop opened its doors to the community.
“It’s wonderful,” Dunbar said of the new facility. “I’m sorry it had to be that way to get to this point, but it’s definitely a big difference.”
Everything from the floor, drywall, chairs, equipment, cabinets and the store front glass have been replaced, said co-owner Norman Jones of Upper Marlboro. After a “tedious” process with permits after the fire, Jones said they found asbestos under the floors which had to be removed.
While the store was closed for two months, some shop employees, like Dunbar, were lucky enough to find temporary work.
“I was just trying to survive. It was kind of rough. People don’t want to hire you and when they hire you, it’s hard to build clientele in a new area,” said Dunbar, who had the honor of cutting the hair of Silver Spring’s Yonnie Fekade, the first customer since the fire.
Fekade, a new patron of the shop, noticed the space when driving by Friday morning and decided to stop in. He said the cleanliness of the space stood out to him, which Dunbar hopes will make Ebony a “competitive barber shop” in the area.
Co-owner Michael Bailey of Landover Hills said the shop’s main goal is to reestablish itself in the community that it has been a part of for 20 years.
“Physically no one was hurt, but financially everyone was hurt,” said Bailey, who hopes to “redeem” the customers who have gone to other places.
The shop was the target of two prior acts of vandalism the same month that resulted in a broken window and damage to storefront shrubbery, before the June 28 fire.
Bailey said the owners have taken precautions after hours with security cameras that can be viewed from a remote facility. Fire investigators said Tuesday that no arrests had been made in connection with the incident, and the case remains under investigation.
A grand reopening of Ebony Barbers Unisex is scheduled for October.
“We’re back and we’ll see,” Jones said. “We’re hoping to get some support from the same media who told everybody about the fire to kind of let everybody know we are back in business.”