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Ideal Barber Shop: Built from Love

Ray Rivenbark didn’t set out to be a barber, but when a high school friend offered to put gas in his car if he would attend barber school with him, it was simply “too good of an offer to turn down”. 56 years later The Ideal Barber Shop is a staple of Burgaw, NC, and one of Ray’s great loves (the other being his darling bride, Edna Rae). Ray and Edna had quite the journey to purchasing the barbershop in 1966.

With Edna always on his mind, Ray chose to live in Henderson, North Carolina right out of barber school. It provided employment opportunities, and was a direct route to Petersburg, Virginia, where Edna Rae was studying to be a nurse. Every weekend he made the hour and a half drive just to see her, and upon her graduation they packed up his mobile home in Henderson and moved their lives back to Duplin county. This time they were together. Shortly thereafter, Ray started work at the barber shop, and Edna Rae began at Pender Memorial Hospital. They got married on the 19th of June that same year, and have raised four children in Burgaw.

The Ideal Barber Shop is a testament to Ray and Edna’s love for each other, but they credit their strength and fortitude to their long-standing participation in Shiloh Baptist Church. You can see that love hanging in every corner of the space — one filled with beautiful treasures collected throughout their years together.

Many of those years have been spent right here in Burgaw, in this barbershop, welcoming any person who walks through his doors. “It’s home,” he says, “and when you get home, you’re just home.” And so you are.

Ray has no plans of retiring just yet, and that’s a good thing for the people who travel from all over North Carolina (and further) to come get their hair shaped up in his chair. The Ideal Barber Shop is an iconic piece of downtown Burgaw, and not to be missed if you’re looking to experience a true piece of history. So come on down and say “hi” to Ray, his door is always open.


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Burgaw, NC 28425

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