- August 30, 2021
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WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. — A historic Winston-Salem hair salon was destroyed in an early morning fire, Wednesday. Ervin’s Beauty Services on the 3000 block of North Patterson Avenue has been open for 44 years. Now, the future of the community institution is uncertain.
The hair salon’s doors were forced closed by the fire as the owner tries to decide what to do next.
“It was just burning when I passed down this way. I could see smoke coming out the window and I knew it was bad then,” said Minnie Ervin, owner of Ervin’s Beauty Services.
The fire started at 8:47 a.m. according to officials with the Winson-Salem Fire Department. Officials said 11 fire engine units and 31 firefighters put out the fire. Ervin said another beautician who arrived early at the salon was doing a client’s hair when the fire started.
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“She was getting ready to put a lady under the dryer. She was getting her prepared for the dryer and she heard a pop and she looked near the dryer and she saw fire,” Ervin said.
The fire destroyed salon equipment and decorative photos of icons of Black excellence who have sat in Mrs. Ervin’s chair over the years. Ervin spoke about some of the salon’s famous patrons.
“Dr. Dolly McPherson. She was the first Afro-American hired at Wake Forest College. I did her hair for over 30 years. I did Dr. Maya Angelou’s hair for over 30 years. We’ve had Oprah here. We’ve had lots of people,” Ervin said.
“This was her hair salon until she got so and couldn’t come here anymore and so I went to her home to do her hair for all of her occasions and other things,” Ervin said of the late renowned poet Angelou.
The fire is just another recent blow for the family. Jaykay Ervin Sr., Ervin’s husband of 65 years, with whom she built the salon in 1976, died on New Year’s Day.
“Well, I just knew it was another time and I will depend on my God because I knew He had brought me this far and He wouldn’t bring me this far to leave me,” she said. “It’s hard, so yes, I hurt. I hurt when I lost that good husband because he was the best man in the world. He was a good man.”
Ervin said she is not sure yet what to do next about the business, but she is leaning heavily on her faith for guidance.
“I am God’s child, I know Him and He knows me and I know He is going to take care of me. I’m going to be alright. It’s hard but He didn’t say it would be easy and I know He is there for me,” Ervin said.
Investigators are still looking into what caused the fire. In the meantime, concerned members of the community who want to help Ervin are asked to instead make donations to the Winston-Salem State University Music Department or the Athletics Department in her honor.
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