- by Anne Finlay-Stewart

"It's all about the man in the chair – making sure he is confident in the way he looks."
This is how John Drimmie sees his work as a barber.
I sat in the barber chair in his  downtown shop to talk about how he got there and where he's headed.

"Growing up, I was never really satisfied with a haircut," John says about his motivation to learn the skill himself. He looked at celebrities, athletes and people on television, and how their grooming and haircut was so much a part of their image. When he couldn't find anyone who could give him the kind of attention and service he wanted, he taught himself to cut his own hair.

Next he offered free haircuts on Kijiji. "I told them it would be free until we both agreed I was worth the money." When he learned what he could on his own, John went to Hamilton to apprentice at the Westdale Barber Shop.

"Your hair is the one thing you have to wear every day, regardless of your wardrobe" says John. "My job is to get my customers really excited about their hair," so every cut starts with a conversation, a consultation. He's already seeing repeat customers who appear much more confident about their look.

John is a local – he graduated from St. Mary's and then went to Laurier to study economics and accounting. He barberhoursapprenticed on two farms in the area, thinking that might be his future, but there is a lot of solitary time in farming and John is clearly a people person.

While John has definitely found work that fits his passion, but what he's really hoping his business does is build community. Trust, stories, lots of people interactions are the core of a barbershop and of a community, John says - "I feel empty if I don't have that".

In the once upon a time, John says, parents took their sons to the barber shop and he would like to see that tradition return. He is looking forward to providing a comfortable, relaxing atmosphere where every client can expect excellent customer service and a haircut that gives them confidence in their image.

The shop is at 791 1st Avenue East (the old Larry's Fish and Chips) – John says he's happy to be close to the Farmers' Market and "close walking distance to other great downtown businesses."

John knows that when some men want their hair cut, they want it that day, so he's happy to take walk-ins, but it's best to call or text ahead to avoid a wait. You can reach John's Barber Shop at 519-372-6086 or on Facebook.




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