TOPEKA (KSNT) – Mark Redmond was originally supposed to clean his father’s barbershop, but then his dedication to cutting hair turned him into a full-time barber in the very building his dad started. In the same place, you can find him today.
Redmond has been inside of the four walls of Styles Barbershop since he could remember, thanks to his dad. His dad opened the shop in 1970 in East Topeka.
“I was supposed to be coming here cleaning up the place,” he said. “I had some friends that wanted me to cut their hair. So I started cutting their hair and they liked it and that was the start.”
Redmond said he has seen a lot of things during his time in the shop. The years have gone by, the neighborhood has changed, but nothing to ever make him question what he was doing. That is until 2020.
“They shut us down for two and a half months, so that was really tough,” he said. “It was no income. It was pretty stressful.”
It’s almost impossible to say the pandemic didn’t have an impact on people. But being considered a non-essential business, and being a black, small-business owner made the future questionable.
CNBC surveyed 2,157 small business owners at the beginning of 2021. Twenty-five percent of black business owners said their business was temporarily shut down and had not reopened yet. Nine percent of black business owners said their business shut down, reopened, then shut down again. A worry Redmond had in the back of his mind.
“I had never been through a situation like this before,” he said. “You know, I’m thinking I’m in the wrong business.”
Because of the loyal customers, Styles opened again. Really, it was Redmond’s passion for haircuts and dedication that kept them coming back.
Styles is a family-owned and operated shop, Redmond also works with his twin brothers. The shop is located at 1204 SE 6th Ave.
KSNT learned about Redmond thanks to one of his clients sharing his story with us. If you have someone you think we should know, use our Share It feature or our mobile app.