POOLER, Ga., (WSAV) —
A barbershop is a place where many go for a haircut. But it’s more than that.
It’s a place to build a bond with others and putting trust in someone else’s hands to make sure you look good before you head out.
Nu Impressions Barber Studio opened its doors in April 1998 as the first black barbershop right off Highway 80, in Pooler. But owner Bruce Bailey,48, also known as Mr. Bruce says he never thought he’d own one.
“The inspiration was just always being able to work hard and have something for myself,” Bailey says.
He started at the age of 18 when he and friends began playing around cutting each others hair.
Those antics soon turned into reality. But then he thought he had hit rock bottom when he lost both parents. He says that gave him the push he needed but his customers are what keeps him going.
“Being able to relate to my customers really have those great phenomenal conversations that’s what makes you stay in it that’s what makes you want to be here,” he said.
The barbershop is simply a part of his life. “Getting to know people, love people, people loving me, giving me love back. One of the greatest things is being able to know that kids that I’ve cut that they were 1-year-old when I gave them their first haircut. Now I’ve cut some of their children’s hair,” he says
He calls the barbershop, a cornerstone, a safe haven, a community. Whether that means serving as a brother, friend, counselor, or entertaining the kids. But he couldn’t do it without the dedicated artists by his side, who also don’t mind giving him a hard time.
“A lot of my barbers call me old, they say that I pressure cleaned Noah’s Ark and I’ve probably cut some of Noah’s Ark’s hair and Jesus’ hair,” he says while laughing.
But he says he wouldn’t change it for the world.
“I have such a great group of barbers right now I would hate to know that I have walked away or I couldn’t continue something so great and profound to make some of these other barbers come out and bring the best out of them which bring even more out of me,” he says.
Over the years he’s expanded with 8 barbers. One from Savannah, known as ‘Smitty.’ One from Los Angeles known as ‘L.A. A few others. And something you don’t see too often in a male-dominated field, a woman. Only five months in and Lexie Barton says she’s humble and grateful for the opportunity.
“Mr. Bruce has been great. I think it’s very important as a female in the industry to work at a place where you are comfortable and don’t let anybody challenge you because you’re a female,” Barton says.
But what she also enjoys are the clients. “There is so much diversification here. We get all kinds of clientele, every background, every ethnicity, every culture and I love it,” Barton said.
Through the trials and tribulations, mr.bruce gives one piece of advice for anyone trying to pursue their dreams. “Don’t quit, a quitter never wins and a winner never quits. keep god first, be strong and everything will pass for you, everything will prevail for you,” Bailey says.
He says in the next five years he wants to continue helping other barbers in the shop expand by providing them with more ideas and knowledge of this creative business.