BUFFALO, N.Y. -- Each Monday, we highlight a City Shaper — someone or a group of people who are making Western New York a better place. This week, 2 On Your Side's Kelly Dudzik takes us to a Buffalo barber shop that just opened in May.
"My favorite thing to do is when people walk in and they're like 'let's do something different.' I'm like 'awesome. Let's do it.' It doesn't have to be the same thing we've been working on. I like just buzzing it right down and starting fresh and doing something new. And again, it's not always just about the haircut. It's about the experience of coming here, so it's everything. Haircut, plus your enjoyment of walking in and feeling welcomed," says District Barber Shop owner Paul Laurie.
Laurie grew up in Cheektowaga. Two years ago, he decided to go to barber school, and since then always wanted to open his own shop.
"It was more exciting than anything. To know that you're just working for yourself, nobody else," says Laurie.
Laurie rents his space from the building's owner, and the other barbers rent their chairs from Laurie. He says so far, being a first-time business owner in Buffalo has been great.
"It's a feel-good moment knowing that everyone wants to help and support doing what you're doing. When they realize that you're compassionate about what you're doing and they want to help you do it, that's like a feel-good feeling," says Laurie.
They mostly focus on shorter haircuts — clipper work with scissor work.
"We're trying to take like that men name out of it and just say short haircuts because we cater to a lot of women that rock that type of haircut," says Laurie. "When you're done with your haircut, it doesn't mean you have to leave, you can still hang out and enjoy the experience of what a barber shop is supposed to be."
And for Laurie, that sense of community expands well beyond the barber shop.
"We're telling everybody where to go for restaurants, where to go out at night, where to work out, like stuff like that, we're happy to support everybody," he says.
The District Barber Shop does take walk-ins, but Laurie recommends going online to book an appointment ahead of time.
If you'd like to nominate a City Shaper, you can email Kelly Dudzik.
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