He’s run a successful Menlo Park business for 42 years. He’s published 11 volumes of poetry and three books focused on helping men come to grips with their feelings. He is a sought-after inspirational speaker. And, on the side, he plays drums in a jazz quartet.
He’s Jym Marks, proprietor of Markstyle, the long-standing Willows sartorial parlor that, while it keeps five barbers busy (and is looking for a sixth), is still, as it has long been, a community center, a gathering spot for men young and not-so-young. Jim recalls an era before the Onetta Harris Center and the Boys and Girls Club were built when there weren’t many other spots for men to gather in east Menlo Park.
A native of Rockford, Illinois, Marks came west after an Army tour of duty and enrolled at Drumland School of Art in San Francisco to study percussion. He has continued both formal education and his lifelong passion for reading. Drawing on the wit and wisdom from the barber shop, his goal is to share his enthusiasm for education and inspire others to recognize excellence from within.
“I love the arts,” Marks says. “I’m basically an artist. I focus on poetry, public speaking, and playing jazz.”
Those pursuits limit his time at Markstyle these days. He’s no longer there every day. But Marks still finds Menlo a good place to have a business. “Menlo Park is a great city,” he says, “I’m glad I’m here.”