Campus barber aims to serve all

Customers said they enjoy the welcoming atmosphere as much as the haircuts.

When former Gophers football player Jack Brewer went to the University, he said it was difficult to get a haircut on campus.

Some barbershops and salons around the University did not have anyone who could cut a black person’s hair, said Brewer, who began his professional football career in 2002 with the Minnesota Vikings and recently signed with the New York Giants.

He wanted to change that, so he opened JB’s Livewire in Stadium Village. The shop, which began operating in February, features a barbershop and salon that specialize in all hair types.

Brewer, a native Texan, said he always wanted to open a barbershop with a Southern feel.

But what makes this shop unique is the adjoining salon, he said.

“A lot of places can’t cater to black men and women and white men and women,” Brewer said. “This is a place where everyone can get taken care of.”

Jake Delander, barber at Ann’s Barber Shop on Washington Avenue, said his shop also caters to all hair types.

“There are only three hair types and we do them all,” he said. “We don’t do dreadlocks or stuff like that, but we do black students all the time.”

Brewer walked into his shop Friday afternoon, the busiest day, and greeted every customer personally.

The room was abuzz with laughter as the barbers exchanged light-hearted banter with one another and customers.

Brewer said on April Fools’ Day one of the barbers called him in New York and told him someone threw a brick through the store’s window.

“They had me going,” he said.

Customer Dante Coleman said the patrons and barbers interact like members of a large family.

“Everyone is friends here, it’s like ‘Cheers,’ ” he said. “It’s harmonious.”

Customer Aubrey Puckett, whose son is one of the master barbers, said the atmosphere is the best part of the shop.

“They always have a joke. They sometimes sing,” she

said. “But they care about their work. They take pride in what they do.”

Coleman said the shop is a good place to network. He said Vikings and Gophers players are frequently in the shop.

“And it’s the only place where they let (customers) answer the phone,” he said.

Sophomore Gophers wide receiver Ernest Wheelwright, who gets his hair cut at the shop, said he comes for the conversation.

“They got good spirit,” he said. “It’s real easy to get into.”

Puckett said the shop’s location is important because students sometimes have trouble finding a place to get a haircut around campus.

“They can connect with guys that are their age,” she said.

In the waiting area near the shop’s front window, a group cheered on as two opponents faced off on the basketball court on PlayStation 2.

Denata Griffin, who specializes in braids and dreadlocks, said that at first the shop’s clientele was mainly friends and loyal customers from shops where the barbers previously worked.

“It’s slowly picking up,” she said. “But we’re getting them in.”