Barber shops are not uncommon businesses but when one opens next month in Downtown Dunn it will be something that is different. A local businessman will cut hair but will provide other services to make getting a haircut a true experience.
Beard treatment, facials, a shoe shine station and a humidor where cigars will be sold will all be part of The Bearded Goose 77.
Anthony “Biff” Graham, a 20-year veteran of the U.S. Air Force, is the owner of the business and said he is following his dream with the opening of the Wilson Avenue store.
Within a year from his military retirement, Mr. Graham made the decision to attend the Central Carolina Community College barbering program which led to his new business venture.
“It was the perfect career move because of my old-school personality and my ability to speak to the public,” Mr. Graham said. “The overall experience in the barbering program was very positive for me. The foundation for our craft is so important and without a proven program to build on, I would not be in the position I am in now as a shop owner.”
There will be five barbers working at the store on most days, with long hours to accommodate the schedules of customers. Those waiting to be seated will have what the owner hopes will be a social experience each time customers come in.
Mr. Graham said several horseshoe pods of chairs will be arranged inside. They will be aligned so customers can interact with each other more easily.
“I really, really want conversation,” Mr. Graham said. “I want people to talk to each other. I really want to bring that back to the barber shop.”
Customers will notice something else about the barbers. Each day they will be formally dressed.
“I will have on a three-piece suit and wing tip shoes when I am working,” Mr. Graham said. “We just want the barber shop to be a fun place to be.”
Instructors at the CCCC campus are not surprised at Mr. Graham’s success.
“Biff was not only a great student, he was also a great friend, mentor and brother to his fellow classmates,” CCCC leading barbering instructor Arthur McCullers said. “He had no problem with taking the time and sharing his life experiences with his fellow classmates. He would often give them encouraging words.”
Mr. Graham said the idea for the barbershop came very early in his school journey.
“I knew what type of shop I wanted to work in and be a part of,” Mr. Graham said.
The Bearded Goose 77 nickname came from Mr. Graham’s previous career as a truck driver.
Also having close ties with Mr. Graham’s Scottish heritage, the name expresses the style and tradition of naming shops and pubs in the old country.” Mr. Graham said he was eager to start his new business.
“The only hesitation that I had was the possibility of finding the right team to work in the shop,” Mr. Graham said. “ The market in my area needed and wanted something different, so having clientele never was a concern.”
Mr. Graham also utilized Central Carolina Community College’s Small Business Center as he began the process of starting his business .
“The Small Business Center was a pivotal resource during the entire process — from the business plan strategy to helping me partner with local businesses,” Mr. Graham said. “The Small Business Center is by far the most underused asset small business owners can use.
“The willingness to assist, the knowledge of what it takes to start and run a business was such a vital part of getting my business off the ground. They answered all my questions and guided me through the process.”
Mari-inetta Pavlic, CCCC Small Business Center coordinator in Harnett County, said she is excited to see Mr. Graham begin his business in Dunn.
“He is an exceptional person who has put in the hard work to succeed,” she said. “The Small Business Center’s mission is to increase the success rate and the number of viable small businesses in the county by providing high quality, readily accessible assistance to prospective and existing small business owners and their employees.”
Mr. Graham said he believes key factors to any business is keeping a positive mindset and believing in what you are creating. “My passion runs deep in anything I put my name on,” he said.
What advice would he give to someone who may be considering establishing a business?
“Research, plan, strategize, plan again,” said Mr. Graham. “Use all resources that are available to you.”
For more information on Central Carolina Community College and its programs, visit www.cccc.edu.