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“Crewcuts” Salon for Men is an Experience

I suspect that for many men, like me, a haircut is a necessary chore, not something to look forward to.  Get in, pay as little as possible for a decent cut, and be on your way.  That was until I visited the Crewcuts shop at 209 E. Main in Salem.

 

Tracy Crouch, owner and proprietor of Crewcuts, showed me what a real haircut experience could be.  After I admired the shop, with its real hardwood flooring and weathered brick walls, the sheet metal sculptures created by Tracy’s husband Andy, the windmill chandelier, the nose of the old Chevy truck on one wall, the shoeshine stand in the front, and all of the other nice touches, Tracy guided me to one of the three antique barber chairs where she and her staff work their magic.

 

It started normally enough, with chitchat and the snip of scissors.  I learned that Tracy and Andy owned the building and that Tracy hoped to turn the shop into a real old-fashioned full service barbershop.  What is needed is for Tracy and her staff to earn Barbers licenses, which are different from the Cosmetology licenses they now have.  “A barber’s license lets you do cool stuff like shave customers the old fashioned way,” Tracy said. “With a straight razor.”  Kaskaskia College plans to offer a Barbering Certificate starting in the summer of 2015, pending state approval.

 

As it is, Crewcuts is unique to the area, which abounds with ladies’ salon services, but none that cater especially to a male clientele.  Tracy did her homework to find a niche that has not been filled, and Crewcuts is the result.  Tracy offers a number of services to her customers, including manicures with a soak to remove embedded dirt and oil and soften the skin, facial hair care, waxing, coloring, and tinting, all on a walk-in basis.  Her focus is not in selling as many of these services as possible; she is concerned with giving each customer a positive experience.  For example, after a trim with scissors and clippers, I enjoyed a hot towel before the shaving of the back of my neck and around my ears and eyebrows.  After the haircut, Tracy washed my hair twice to remove itchy trimmings, blow dried my hair, and applied a small amount of product.  She finished with a dusting of talcum powder.

 

All I had expected was a haircut, priced at $15 on the chalkboard.  What I got was full-service treatment at no extra charge.  “We offer these as complimentary services to our clients,” Tracy said.  With an introductory discount, the haircut cost $12, very competitive with any other shop or salon.  It is no wonder she draws clients from as far away as Carlyle and Mt. Vernon.

 

Tracy and her staff are graduates of the Kaskaskia College Cosmetology program, and Steve Groner of the Small Business Development Center was instrumental in helping her set up shop.  “The KC Cosmetology program includes instruction on operating your own business,” Tracy said.  “And Steve Groner was very helpful in making sure we saw things realistically.”   With a solid business plan in hand, Tracy was able to get the financing she needed, and Crewcuts has now been open since mid June.

 

Tracy has a Bachelors degree in Health Care Management from SIU Carbondale, but decided to open her own shop for a number of reasons.  “I have always wanted to be in business for myself, and with a growing family I wanted flexibility in my schedule.  Plus, I am creative and love to work with my hands.”  Tracy’s grandmother, who owned a beauty shop in the Mount Vernon area, babysat her as a child, and Tracy watched her work with clients.  These memories helped Tracy decide to go to Cosmetology school, and KC was the best choice.

 

 

April Denton of Kell, a stylist at Crewcuts, agreed.  “The instructors at KC were extremely helpful,” she said.  “They would give their eye teeth to make sure the students succeed.”  Tracy, April, and Charissa Meadows, who also works at the shop, shared pleasant memories of Chris Browne’s perm classes, Kelli Malone’s enthusiasm, and the positivity and encouragement they received from all of the faculty, especially Murlen Garner.  “Mr. Murlen,” they agreed, was wonderful.

 

I walked into Crewcuts expecting just another haircut, but I came out feeling refreshed and enthusiastic.  They say men are creatures of habit; my new habit will be to visit Crewcuts when the time comes for a trim.  Maybe I’ll even try a manicure next time.

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