Ruff Kuttz barbers, standing, left to right, Cornell Williams, Ellis Williams and Trey Mason tend to clients Ned Batts, Dezyre Moore and José Gonzalez. (MONA MOORE | Daily News)
Ruff Kuttz barbers, standing, left to right, Cornell Williams, Ellis Williams and Trey Mason tend to clients Ned Batts, Dezyre Moore and José Gonzalez. (MONA MOORE | Daily News)

Archived Story

‘Soul winners’: Haircuts come with God’s praise at Ruff Kuttz

Published 9:39pm Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Cornell “Ruff Kuttz” Williams sat in his barber’s chair between customers trying to remember how to say, “All are welcome” in Spanish.
Buenos Dias?
That’s “hello.”
He gave up and greeted a patron with, “¡Olé!”
Williams may not be able to say, “Todos son bienvenidos,” but all are welcome in the Main Street barbershop and he takes pride in the multicultural atmosphere.
“I wanted to be in a location where it would cater to a vast variety of people, to be multicultural. I didn’t want to limit myself,” he said. “We cut anything but grass.”
So far, it’s working. Washington High School student Ned Batts said he comes to Ruff Kuttz because he likes the atmosphere, the service and the quality haircuts.
“I feel comfortable in here,” Batts said.
Longtime customer and friend Eddie Gorham recalled the time an Indian woman came in for a haircut.
“She asked, ‘Can you do my hair?’ and he said, ‘Are you human?’” Gorham said.
He called Williams a survivor who has always strived for a successful business.
“These are the people I’ve grown up with and they are still the same,” Gorham said of Williams and Ruff Kuttz barbers Trey “T-Mase” Mason and Ellis “E Nice” Williams. “They treat people with kindness and take pride in what they do.”
Gorham drives from Williamston to have Williams cut his and his son’s hair. He said he and his son would not let anyone else cut their hair.
Ruff Kuttz has been a downtown staple since 1997, but Williams said some people still could not point him out on a map.
“From 1997 to 2013, that’s a great accomplishment right there. That says who I am, who I serve. You can do all things with Christ,” Williams said.
From his Main Street business, Williams has a view of the river. It is one of the things he loves most about his location.
What he loves even more about his business is the opportunity to witness for Jesus.
“We do hair, but we’re soul winners. We’re winning souls for the Lord, for the Kingdom,” Williams said. “We have fun here being an example of how young men should carry themselves and how to be an example, how to be a witness.”
Williams cuts hair under a large placard of the ten Commandments and peppers his speech with praise to God.
He says it’s free with every cut and the reason his business is thriving.
“Only what you do for the Lord is going to stand. Everything else will fade away,” Williams said. “If I didn’t lift his name up in everything I do, we wouldn’t still be here.”
Williams wouldn’t call himself a minister, but a barber with a strong faith. He and his family attend Harvest Church in Washington.
“I’m a strong voice for injured spirits who are hurting and grieving,” he said. “If you’re in trouble or grieving, come to the barbershop and we’ve got an encouraging word to help you pull through.”
Located at 236 W Main Street, Ruff Kuttz Barber Shop is open Tuesdays through Fridays from 9 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. and Saturdays from 6 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. For more information, contact Cornell Williams at 809-3743.

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