Stepping into Vintage Barbers is to go back in time. Co-owners Scott Rogers and Joe Arnold employ nine barbers in their two locations, but it’s readily apparent that they are a family as well as a barbershop, with a deep sense of community and appreciation for one another, as well as each and every guest.
Speaking with two of those barbers, Georgie Elkins and Brandi Boyette, was a pleasure, as well as talking with Rogers and Arnold.
It is the use the of the word “guest” employed by the Vintage Barbers team, as opposed to “customers,” that best captures the sense of community and mission Rogers and Arnold set about to reinvigorate, and to bring back the “vintage barber shop feel they grew up with.”
“An old school barber shop locally owned and reminiscent of those that were prolific in the 70s and 80s,” is the way Rogers described the vision that drove them to open Vintage Barbers on the tail end of the pandemic, and it has certainly been met with enthusiastic support from the local community.
“A throwback to the full barber shop experience and old school treatment,” is what he says sets Vintage Barbers apart in the provision of services, as well as that sense of community that was found in those hubs of authentic interaction years ago.
As Rogers shared with me, Vintage Barbers embodies the old school, retro complete barbershop experience replete with hot towels, straight razor shaves, and straight razors on the neck with every haircut.
In the words of Rogers, it is “a guy’s place that isn’t a salon and fulfills the need for a space guys can call their own while still offering modern trends in haircuts rather than relying on styles 20 years old.”
Vintage Barbers certainly fills this niche and as Rogers shared, “It is a particular point of pride that they can cut a flat top as well as more modern cuts. There is nothing that scares us from fades to mullets, quaffed haircuts to pompadours. There is nothing we haven’t run across or one of the barbers can’t do.”
It is just this level of expertise and skill exhibited in the full range of retro services rendered that is the driving force in word-of-mouth referrals that lies behind the success of Vintage Barbers.
All of the Vintage Barbers crew agrees it is just this support by their guests that is “keeping the chairs full and allowing the focus to be on quality over quantity.”
With this raved-about attention to detail and the comfort of each guest at the forefront of the Vintage Barbers experience, don’t expect be able to walk in.
“It’s not unheard of but rare, as we stay so busy with appointments. Online booking, a phone call, or stopping by the shop are the best ways to book an appointment. High demand sees us typically booked out three to five days, sometimes more,” said Rogers.
“One thing everyone who gets an appointment can unequivocally expect is to be welcomed, accepted, and treated like family,” Elkins said. “The wives, moms and children of the gentlemen guests are always welcome.”
But chemical processes, hair coloring and permanents are not.
The purview of Vintage Barbers is strictly male-centric styles and cuts and fills a post-COVID need for a restored sense of community that found its home in the leap of faith that was the opening of Vintage Barbers, and Rogers, Arnold, Elkins and Boyette all agreed it was the most magical leap of faith that could have ever been made.
Within their walls, all the VB crew reports “actual face to face conversations occur amongst guests, offering a respite from the alienation and isolation of social media and the mundane.”
“The men can’t be on their phones while getting a shave or haircuts and instead have conversations and build connections with one another,” Elkins said.
The team strives to maintain a sense of family and Bulloch County to these non-natives has become home as they owe everything to the overwhelming community support the shop and concept have received. Rogers and Arnold are so very appreciative of each guest who comes through the doors and then refers others.
“It’s a return of the barbershop as the hub of community, connection and conversation,” Rogers said, that was such a formative part of his Glennville youth. The pride in and commitment to the Statesboro and Bulloch County community by Vintage Barbers is so very evident in their outreach and charitable efforts.
Arnold beams with pride when you mention community engagement, and he said they support and sponsor football and baseball at Georgia Southern University.
Scott was able to share this year’s recent cancer event, in conjunction with the Georgia Southern baseball team, raised “over $17,000.” Vintage Barbers already has plans to be a participant next year.
Other events having seen the participation of the Vintage Barbers family are the Strike Out Child Abuse bowling tournament, some F1RST Friday events, sponsorship of holes during golf events, and numerous other silent auctions.
“We always seize every opportunity to give back to the community,” Rogers said.
The young ladies who are vital components of the Statesboro Vintage Barbers location also spoke to and offered their thanks and appreciation for the self-empowering atmosphere that Rogers and Arnold foster, giving them the space to build upon traditional cosmetology skills and add the skills of barbering to their repertoire with Elkins sharing, “Fades and skin fades are, I feel, my specialty.”
“Shaves, full head shaves, and straight razor work are my Zen moment,” Boyette says.
Both Elkins and Boyette also expressed thanks for the welcoming inclusivity and acceptance they have received as females in the traditionally male role of barber, saying they have found solace in the empowerment of being freed from the confinement of gender roles. It is just this sense of family, community and inclusivity that defines the entire Vintage Barbers team.