Editor’s note: This is first in a series on businesses reopening in Portland.
Portland’s local barber shops are booming with the reopening, even with the restrictions the State of Tennessee has put in place. According to owners Jack Jones of Jack’s Barbershop and Gregg Dillard of Southern Barber, customers are so glad to get a haircut, no one is complaining.
Both shops are abiding by the state’s regulations, as well as guidelines from the Center for Disease Control (CDC). Shops are required to screen all employees and customers for COVID-19 symptoms. Social distancing is required as much as possible, with customers and barbers wearing masks. No services that require removing the masks are permitted.
There is a limit to the number of customers that are allowed in the shops and services are by appointment only. Locally, customers that arrive early are asked to sit in their cars and the barbers will text or call them when it is time to come in. In addition, shops must practice good hygiene.
Jack’s Barbershop has four barbers who have shared over 100 appointments a day. The four chairs are full all day long. They have hired a person to take temperatures, ask a series of questions, see that customers wear masks, and wash hands before their haircuts.
Jones was one of the youngest people to finish barber college and become a barber. He was 16 when he enrolled. He shined shoes at a barber shop before that. It is a family full of barbers with three of his older brothers being barbers. He has been a barber for approximately 57 years with 47 of those years being in Portland and has many loyal customers.
In describing how business has been since opening, Jones, known for his sense of humor, laughed as he said, “We’re working our hind ends off.”
Southern Barber has earned a lot of loyal customers since opening barely two years ago. Dillard describes his shop as a family business and reopening was like returning to family.
Dillard has been a barber for seven years and has developed a large following.
Dillard said, “We’ve been in overdrive. We’re booked out a month. We’re getting customers from Kentucky because shops haven’t opened there. I want to thank the public and everybody for their support.”
As a business owner, Dillard feels that he had lost two jobs during the shutdown. First, part of his business involves renting spaces to the other three barbers. He lost that income which he uses for expenses. Then he lost his own chair which he uses for his income. While he has applied for unemployment and other stimulus loans to help out, he hasn’t heard from any of them at this point.
Meanwhile, he has been blessed with customers dropping off boxes of masks at his shop and supporting him in other ways. Someone dropped off $800 and asked him to share among the barbers.
Dillard is going one step further with the reopening regulations and keeping a list of those who come into the shop. Should the information be asked for at some point, he will have it ready. He is also taking the customers temperatures before coming into the shop.
Both shops are taking appointments, so customers are encouraged to do that before making a trip to the shops. Customers can either call the shops or book an appointment online. Appointments can be made at Jack’s Barbershop on Facebook at Jack’s Barbershop with the identifier Portland, Tenn. or by calling the shop at (615) 325-7630.
Customers for Southern Barber can book an appointment by calling the shop at (615) 745-7212 or going to the website: thesouthernbarber.com.