Fulton County Barber Shop
Never Underestimate The Power Of A Barber
The Fulton County Barber Shop is not just a place to get a haircut. It’s also a comfortable place to hang out with friends and a prime example of a young entrepreneur investing—and thriving—in the revitalization of downtown Gloversville.
In 2011, Mike Medina began renting the Main Street building his business now occupies. He worked for a year, bit by bit, to redo the space: erecting walls, painting, and furnishing. He did not want to take out a loan, so he worked out of his home as he worked on the commercial space. “I would cut hair for a week, and I would make a purchase, and I would repeat that week after week until I put these pieces of this puzzle together,” said Medina, noting that all the barber shop’s furnishings came from Craigslist.
Medina and two other barbers now cut hair for about 75 clients a day at the shop. He also offers before- and after-hours appointments that customers can book with him online.
But cutting hair is just the beginning for Medina. Eventually, he was able to purchase the building that houses the barber shop as well as the adjacent space. He is currently working on rehabbing the upper floors of the space next door, which had been vacant for 75 years. “I’m going to invest in myself,” Medina said, outlining his plans to have a line of his own products, including shampoo, conditioner, aftershave, soap, body wash, and combs. “I want to be able to have a full-scale manufacturing operation going on upstairs on the second floor, creating a job or two for someone,” he said. The young businessman has set big goals for himself. He wants to sell his products online, by subscription, and possibly even in retail outlets.
“The community has been really supportive,” Medina said. “They love us.
“The community has been really supportive,” Medina said. “They love us.” He loves them right back, sponsoring events like “Santa & Friends,” where he and his barbers dress up like Santa Claus and elves to offer free haircuts for kids 12 and under. Last year, he augmented the event with a toy drive, and he and some clients went caroling to deliver the gifts to families. He also holds his back-to-school “Read to the Barber” special, where kids from pre-K through college receive half off a haircut if they read to the barber while he cuts their hair. To promote father-son bonding, he encourages dads to bring their sons in on Father’s Day. Dads pay for their haircuts, but their sons’ are gratis.
In addition to the Fulton County Barber Shop, Medina has invested in another business venture, Chayla’s Cuchifrito, a food truck offering authentic Puerto Rican cuisine cooked by his parents. Medina received a $25,000 microenterprise grant from the New York State Community Development Block Grant Program to purchase the truck. He plans to offer the international cuisine outside his shop as well as at other locations in the city.