EXTENDED FEATURE: Franklins’ Family Barbershop Promotes Diversity through Professionalism

| June 1, 2015 | 0 Comments | Bristow Biz
Franklin's Family Barbershop

Louis Franklin (left) and Richard Moore (right) in front of Franklin’s Family Barbershop.

by Patrick Szabo

No matter what ethnicity, background, gender or culture, Franklins’ Family Barbershop in Gainesville wants you as a customer.

Owned and operated by Louis Franklin, FFB has been providing the community with professional and family-oriented barber services since October 2011.

What separates FFB from other barbershops in the area is its atmosphere. Franklin asserts that it isn’t just a barbershop for African-Americans. Instead, FFB promotes a multicultural environment.

“[FFB] is here to be able to introduce…an establishment that can cater to all walks of life,” Franklin said. “I believe that we can do more together than we can apart and that’ s where making a difference starts here.”

Customers can be assured they are getting a quality hair cut, too. Franklin not only hires an international staff with employees of all ethnicities, but he also trains barbers himself.

“I do apprenticeship programs where I can train barbers of all walks of life to be able to cut all different textures of hair,” he said. “That is my goal.”

The cleanliness and professionalism FFB displays also adds to the overall haircut experience. In addition to keeping the shop fresh and clean, Franklin has his employees sign contracts and follow a set of rules and guidelines that prohibit certain things such as the use of profanity in the shop.

“I try to create and present a family-oriented atmosphere where you can feel comfortable as if you’re coming home,” he said. “I’m trying to create a place where people can come and…build up the community.”

This all adds up when it comes to Franklin’s customers. Haymarket resident Neil Dorsey has been getting his haircut at FFB for two years. After trying out different shops in the area, Dorsey noticed FFB’s attractive atmosphere the first time he walked in the door.

“It’s always clean,” he said. “This is far more family-oriented.”

While searching for the right barbershop, Dorsey was concerned about barber etiquette.

“[Other barbers] get easily distracted, they don’t pay you any attention,” he said. “Here, its just the total opposite.

It’s not just Franklin’s customers who understand this distinction, either. The employees are also pleased.

“I bounced around different barbershops until I found a home,” said employee Richard Moore. “This is a barbershop where you can come and get your hair cut and bring your kids and you can feel welcome.”

Franklin’s ability to properly train his staff and offer his customers a welcoming environment has been shaped through decades of observation and experience.

His mother owned a beauty parlor in Washington, D.C. and his neighbor owned a barbershop two doors down.

“At a very, very young age I was in and out of the barbershop and the beauty parlor,” he said. “It just looked interesting.”

Franklin Haircut

Franklin cuts the hair of one of his regular customers.

At the age of ten, Franklin began to cut his friends’ hair. Five years later, he started barber school.

It was on his 16th birthday that he took the test to become a licensed, professional barber and at 18 he became a master barber.

“I’ve been in the industry ever since,” he said.

This isn’t Franklin’s first barbering business, either. Before opening FFB, he was cutting hair at his home in Haymarket.

In 2007, he obtained the proper county licenses, set up shop in his basement and started the Professional Master Barber Special Service Company. It was with this company that Franklin also traveled to different facilities to cut hair for those who couldn’t easily get around.

“That was a company that went around to different facilities…to try to inspire, encourage and lift up their spirits,” he said. “It’s about making a difference.”

Six years after starting PMBSSC, Franklin moved his business out of Haymarket and into Gainesville.

Franklin stresses the idea that FFB is unique, though.

“We are a barbershop that is completely different from that,” he said. “We are a professional barbershop, no nonsense.”

With so much to offer the community, FFB is trying to keep up with an ever-growing clientele base. According to Franklin, on certain occasions he has performed 70 haircuts in a day.

“That’s quite a bit of work,” Franklin said. “My marketing had to be limited because I didn’t have the supply for the demand.”

What attracts customers to FFB isn’t only the environment. It also offers an array of services. In addition to haircuts, FFB provides beard trims, perms, hair dying, eyebrow arching, old-fashioned shaves and much more.

“We do pretty much everything that you can do in the barbering industry,” Franklin said.

Already providing so much for the community, Franklin and FFB still want to do more. Franklin is concerned about both the amount of barbers working without the appropriate licenses and the lack of barber schools.

To counter this, he is in the process of opening Franklins’ Family Barbershop Academy, which will provide a diverse education for learning barbers.

“I’ve had quite a complicated time of being able to hire good, committed and dedicated barbers because there’s no schools in the area,” Franklin said. “I’ve come to the conclusion that that is my sole purpose in making a difference in the community is being able to create education and opportunity.”

He intends to open the academy on January 1, 2016.

Franklins’ Family Barbershop is located at 7608 Gardner Park Drive.

© 2015, Bristow Beat. All rights reserved.

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