The Generator Celebrates Black History Month
THE BLACK ESTABLISHMENTS OF PINE BLUFF
Trammell’s Beauty and Barber Supply
The Trammell’s Beauty and Barber Supply, Inc. is a black love and black business story intertwined that deserves the honor to be recognized as a Black Establishment in Pine Bluff, Arkansas. Clincy Trammell, Jr. and Thedora Clemmons Trammell started the business in the summer of 1965 on University Avenue in U.S. Brown’s building. The Trammell’s journey started when they were young students here in Pine Bluff. Clincy Trammell, Jr., an Air Force veteran of World War II, was a student at Arkansas AM&N College in chemical biology with financial assistance from the G.I. Bill. Clincy, Jr. met Thedora while she was attending J.C. Corbin School which was located on the Arkansas AM&N campus.
Trammell’s Beauty and Barber Supply is the original name of the business that only added the incorporated (Inc.) signa to the name when they relocated on 2700 West Pullen Street in 1975. Thedora, the mother, became an entrepreneur after realizing that she could work from home and care for her children. Thedora had worked under the mentorship of Mrs. Ola Brown and Mrs. Alyene Perry who were both beauticians in the city. The young and beautiful Thedora graduated beauty college at Collingsworth Beauty School here in Pine Bluff.
Clincy Trammell, Jr., who had family in Indianapolis, Indiana exposed the couple to a new outlook for the business. Thedora was able to study in clinics established by Madame C.J. Walker during the summer, a connection that was established through Alyene Perry and her family. The study in Madame C.J. Walker’s clinics helped Thedora acquire the skills to start doing perms (relaxers) that soon propelled her into becoming one of the top black beauticians in South Arkansas. The couple continued to work multiple jobs, maintain a business, mentor young entrepreneurs by hosting clinics, and remain devout parents to their children.
Rosemary, their daughter, recants her parent’s story of not being able to buy beauty and barber supplies for the convenience of their customers from the one supplier in the city. The couple experienced hardships with getting supplies and capital to run the business, which opened the opportunity for Clincy, Jr. to start selling supplies. Using capital from Clincy, Jr.’s job at the National Center for Toxicological Research (NCTR) and Thedora’s employment in other beauty salons helped the couple continue to grow the Trammell’s establishment. Their daughter recalls the story of her father having to travel to Little Rock and as far as Memphis, Tennessee to get beauty supplies. With two entities under the Trammell’s banner, the couple’s flare for fashion inspired them to add a third leg to the establishment, a women’s boutique. The perseverance to raise a family, earn a living, and serve a community is apparent in their business endeavors.
The Trammell’s children who now are the primary managers of the establishment are all college educated and trained in the skill of cosmetology. The oldest daughter, Rosemary is a licensed beautician who still does hair at the Pullen location. The youngest daughter, Lettie a graduate in Chemical Biology still manages the supply store and orders supplies. Clincy, III, the son was always a key component of handling the supply chain for the store over the years. The Trammell’s children and grandchildren have learned different aspects of the business through hands-on or business engagement with their grandparents. The grandchildren who are now all educated with college degrees and professional pedigrees ranging in medicine, business, social work, and cosmetology are a key resource to continuing the family’s legacy.
The Trammell’s Beauty and Barber Supply, Inc. establishment has served thousands of patrons in Pine Bluff and the surrounding communities. Sandra E. Gibbs, Ph.D. has written a biography “Trammell: More than a ‘Hair’ Life: The Life of Thedora Clemmons Trammell”, that embraces the matriarch of the Trammell brand. Other publications of the family have been shared in SEA life, and numerous community recognized published articles. The family recognition for their civic engagements spans from their local hometown to the nation’s capital.
Rosemary talks about the love and dedication her parents have given as black business owners to serve the Pine Bluff community, and how they have been so committed to the students who came through the University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff (Arkansas AM&N). Rosemary explains that the hair business is not for the weak at heart, her parents sacrificed a lot. The couple’s journey as business owners leaves them united after what soon will be seventy-three years of marriage. Clincy, Jr. is ninety-four and Thedora now eighty-eight still have a hand in the business. Their journey has afforded them to educate all their children, enrich the lives of other children, and serve their community with dignity and honor. Their journey is a remarkable one that started with two young and ambitious people wanting to be teachers in their community, and though never making it to a traditional classroom, having taught a generation how to persevere as business owners. The Generator @GFPB celebrates Trammell’s Beauty and Barber Supply, Inc. as an honorable Black Establishment for the Pine Bluff community.