Barber Terry Clay: Jack of all trades, and then some

Barber Terry Clay gives client Brandon Frederick a haircut — and then some. "“I have high hopes for this place and the youth. I see myself in a lot of my customers and I want to have a positive impact on their lives.” (Staff photo by Carl Smith)


Where is an all-in-one therapist, politician, stylist, entrepreneur, and friend when you need one? The Swagger House on 4420 North Roxboro Rd. is the place to find it all.

Terry Clay is a solo barber and a Durham native who has a deep connection for his community.

He uses the skill of barbering to make a living and also a change in surrounding neighborhoods.

Avery Manison (right) admires his new look after a session with Terry Clay. (Staff photo by Carl Smith)

“There is no place I would rather be than Durham,” Clay said. “I have high hopes for this place and the youth. I see myself in a lot of my customers and I want to have a positive impact on their lives.”

Clay gives free haircuts to kids who are in need and also to people who are trying to better themselves without proper resources.

“Nobody reaches the top without having help,” Clay said. “Who knows maybe someone that I have helped in the past will be there to help me when I need it.”

Clay said that by having a lot of customers he is familiar with the area and has helped people resolve neighborhood conflicts.

Clay said he has stopped a lot of possible crimes from happening just by giving good advice.

“Durham can be a rough place,” Clay said. “I’m not Superman and I definitely don’t have a cape, but I have ears. That’s all it takes sometimes.”

According to Clay, making people comfortable is a big factor in maintaining a good business reputation.

“I want my shop to be a place where people can be comfortable,” Clay said. “I never been a fan of being uptight. I live in reality, so I prefer conversations and experiences to be real. The vibe here is what makes my shop different.”

Avery Manison, an out-of-state NCCU student, said that every time he goes to the Swagger House, he leaves the stress of being a college student at the door.

“This place makes me feel like I’m am back in Philadelphia,” Manison said. “It’s not to many places I can go that makes me feel that way. I always come back to campus with a fresh cut and a fresh feeling.”

Brandon Fredericks, a NCCU student, argues that the Swagger house is the best barbershop in town.

Fredericks said that Clay’s advice helped him get through numerous situations both big and small.

“Clay is something special,” Fredericks said. “He has a business mind and I can definitely see him having his own barbering school in the future.”

Clay allows consignment at his shop, which attracts youth who have a love for exclusive sneakers.

Currently Clay is preparing for a back-to-school show for the next school year. He said he has not been able to do one in a while, but the next one will be worth the wait.

Clay said that he wants to be remembered as a man of the people and someone who was truly genuine.

“I want to be a living example that hard work pays off,” Clay said. “I want to show people that we are all we got and there is always a better way.”

3 thoughts on “Barber Terry Clay: Jack of all trades, and then some

  1. MarShunda Keith says:

    “Terry is the best in Durham ! My son is now 7 years old and Terry gave him his first haircut. It has now been 7 years . Terry has patience and is very friendly to my son and I. I highly recommend Terry Clay . The environment is safe and kid friendly with video games and snacks.”

  2. I’ve only been know Terry for a few weeks now, but so far he has shown me that there are still kind-hearted,
    inspirational gentleman in the world. He is not only a barber, but he is also a role model to our young black boys; he has the will to push through, any trials and tribulations in front of him, and I Thank him for being a picture of perfection in my life. Terry is truly someone worthy of imitating.

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