Sheila Connelly and Kevin Daley’s Main Street Barber and Mercantile opened to the public on May 1st, though, without being too precious, it feels as if the shop has been there for at least a generation.
The fruition of the couple’s longtime dream to open a contemporary version of the classic neighborhood barbershop, Main Street Barber is a neat place in one of the Fan’s oldest storefronts. The interior is straight forward, with a large window up front, a waiting bench on the left and three barber chairs down the right. It’s not obvious if the American flags on display are there for July or just part of the environment (which also includes a bowling ball, a tin knight wearing a Red Sox hat, and a workhorse of a vintage register). The goal, says Kevin, is an environment that is “classic in its look but modern in its aesthetic”.
The star of the shop is barber Jerry Perdue, a 32-year veteran barber best known for his 22-year at Belcher’s Barber Shop at 9th and Main. With his tools of the trade laid out on the shelf behind the first chair, Jerry is the authentic presence in Main Street Barber. He’s funny, too. If you’re lucky, Perdue’s 8-year-old dachshund Sampson will be helping hold down the shop.
One of the modern pieces of the new shop is a desire to break the traditional cultural boundaries of a barber shop. Shiela and Kevin say that they want Main Street Barber to be “your family neighborhood barbershop”, offering hair cuts, head shaves, beard trims, and services for men, women, and children. They’d like to get an African-American barber on board to make sure that can offer good service to everyone.
Main Street Barber opens at crossroads of a growing emphasis on local independent businesses, especially in the resurgent cities, and the shop/buy local movement. This is something that Richmond has always tended towards, and which has only gotten more prominent in recent years. Think of the new breweries in the region, Ledbury, Shockoe Denim, Need Supply, the bike shops, Chop Suey books, Lamplighter, all of Richmond’s independent restaurants… The new barber shop brings to the mix another third place, a stop between home and work, where culture and community are knitted together.
Go by and say hi, Sheila and Kevin and Jerry would be glad to meet you. Ask about the Fire Cider if you’ve feeling adventurous…
Open Monday-Saturday. 10% discount for first responders.