Don Gravely, long time Pickens barber and owner of Gravely’s Barber Shop on Main, today was recognized as the June recipient of the city’s I Fan the Flame award. Created by the city of Pickens and the Pickens Revitalization Association, the award honors individuals that have supported and contributed to the community in extraordinary ways – those who have demonstrated a passion for helping make Pickens a great place to live, work and play.
A lifelong resident of Pickens, Don’s roots go back for generations. Reminiscing, he noted, “My grandparents lived here and my dad worked at Bivens Hardware for 50 years. We have 5 children that attended our schools, 9 grandchildren and 4 great grandchildren and they all live in the area. My father-in-law was Pickens Police chief for many years and my uncle was the county sheriff. I wanted to see the world and left Pickens, in 1948, for two years in the service and couldn’t wait to get back. I did not know how much I like Pickens until I left for awhile. Although it is changing, Pickens is still a small town to me. I call it Mayberry #2.”
Don started as a shoeshine boy at the original shop in 1945. He graduated from barber school and has worked as a barber since then – fully owning the barber shop since 1973. Always supportive of Pickens and a long time Main Street businessman, Don has been active in many organizations, such as the JC’s and Lions Club over the years.
Gravely’s Barber shop is a treasure trove of Pickens history – in photos, old magazines and memorabilia. Over the years, famous visitors have included Lyndon Johnson, Bert Lancaster and Cameron Mitchell. In the very early years of the shop, when haircuts were 50 cents, the shop was where the men went on Saturdays to visit, argue politics and get their Saturday bath and shave.
Regretfully, Don says, “There are few true barbers left. Here I’ve had the chance to get to know most people in town. They have been good to me and I have tried to be good to them”.
I Fan The Flame 2012 Platinum sponsors include the Historic City of Pickens and Great Oaks Dental. East Main Treasures and Pace & Reeves BP, Inc. are this year’s bronze sponsors.
The award program will be expanded, in the future, to recognize the many contributions of various academic, civil, religious and charitable organizations towards “fanning the flame” in Pickens.