[ezcol_1half]By Kate McGregor
The traditional red, blue and white barber’s pole outside Capital Barber Shop signifies a place to get a haircut. But there is nothing ordinary about this business. Step inside the shop and enter a world of elegant, classic and retro hair grooming for men.
When co-owners Ankur Vadhera and Hoang Bao Diep opened their new venture in the Glebe on Remembrance Day 2015, they announced their arrival in a unique way, by advertising free haircuts for all service personnel, past and present. Since then, a steady stream of customers has been beating a path to their front door.
Capital Barber Shop is the first joint venture for these two young men who are passionate about their craft. Toronto-born Ankur started cutting hair at age 14. At age 18, he dreamed of opening his own barbershop. He cut hair at Planet Ink Studios following studies at Algonquin College in business marketing. Ottawa native Hoang built a career playing professional poker online for over six years.
The two met at the former Barber’s Chair in the Rideau Centre where they worked as barbers, slowly building a loyal clientele. Working together was in the stars. They got along well, shared the same high standards of quality and technique, and lived and breathed barbering. Outside of their chosen profession, both loved good food, dogs and travel. In fact, during a recent holiday to the Dominican Republic, Ankur spent part of his time cutting other barbers’ hair for fun.
Ankur and Huang knew they had found the perfect spot for their new business venture when the Spa Royale at 590 Bank Street closed. Six weeks of renovations ensued. They gutted the interior and opted for an old-school feel with a modern twist. They kept the existing brick wall, left the original wall clock intact, and added new white subway wall tiling and fresh flooring. They were resourceful, repurposing the former spa’s old chairs, five in total, and sanding down and repainting the stations.
While the overall interior space is spectacular, it is the friendly and quality customer service that stands out. Unlike many barbershops that offer 30-minute cuts, the Capital barber team prides itself on cuts that may take longer, 35 to 40 minutes, for eye-popping results. They also offer clean shaves, beard trimming, hair tattooing, and modern hairstyles like fades. As Ankur says, “In barbering, you’re always learning.”
[/ezcol_1half] [ezcol_1half_end]Constable Abid Nasim is a Glebe police officer and a regular customer. “I come here because of my friend Jose, my barber. I like to stick to one guy; he knows what I like. In my line of work I want to look professional at all times and he does an amazing job. Even though I live in Kanata, it’s worth it to drive all the way over here to get my haircut. Here they take their time and they do a good job.”
As soon as Capital Barber Shop opened, a warm and curious Glebe community welcomed the two entrepreneurs with open arms. The next-door business, Olga’s Deli and Catering, brought the team cookies and muffins. As Hoang found, “the businesses here really want you to do well.”
And do well they will. The co-owners are savvy marketers, with frequent posts on Facebook and Instagram. Their “pop-ups” at Planet Ink and Nordstrom were well received. Capital Barber Shop was a sponsor at the annual Senators Foundation Unsung Heroes Gala, offering free haircuts and shaves.
Future plans include representing Ottawa at “barber battles” and offering a barbering school on Sundays. Once their liquor license is approved, the business will boast a bar, a cool hang-out spot for customers to have a scotch or a bourbon after work while waiting for an appointment. Olga’s will provide catering. Once that long-awaited day arrives, Ankur and Hoang promise an official shop opening for the community.
When you Google “men’s hairstyles,” you will see how male grooming has blossomed with the proliferation of trendy looks and an exploding barber industry all around the world. And with the arrival of Capital Barber Shop to the Glebe, the corner of Bank Street and Rosebery Avenue has just become a hip destination.
Kate McGregor is a certified Integral Master Coach™ and writes the Business Buzz column for the Glebe Report. To inquire about her services: 613-884-1864; email@example.com; www.kmcoaching.ca
590 Bank Street
Tue – Fri, 10 a.m. – 8 p.m.
Sat., 10 a.m. – 6:30 p.m.
Sun., appointments only