Brooklyn’s working men flock to late night barber shop
PEARL GABEL FOR NEW YORK DAILY NEWS
A Crown Heights barber shop makes its bucks churning out late night cuts attracting hard working guys squeezing in time to stay fresh.
Experience Unisex Salon is open till 1 a.m. most days, and up to 5 a.m. on busy weekends, drawing customers after they leave the construction yard, stationhouse, courtroom, and other non nine-to-five jobs.
“A shop like this is a savior,” said co-owner Khalil Wright, 37, one of a trio of barbers at the 740 Franklin Ave. shop. “A lot of people don’t get off work till nine or ten o’clock. We get all works of life – bartenders, correction officers, music industry people, teachers, lawyers, doctors. People come all the way from New Jersey just to get their haircut here,” Wright said. The five-year-old salon’s business model centers around male night owls. Two more stylists share the space doing women’s hair, but they typically leave well before midnight.
The barbers roll in during the afternoon prepared to stay until the last customer is happy with his ‘do. “I work until the money stops,” said barber Erik Ryan, 39, whose clients frequently wait an hour to sit under his clippers. Wait times are similar for Wright and fellow cutter Hameen Barnes.
“I would follow this man around the world,” said B-train motorman Aikido Sticatto, 36, who visits Ryan once a week, usually after 10 p.m. “The children are sleeping. I can get away from my wife.”
Sticatto plans to start taking his toddler son to Experience hoping to pass on the importance of having a good barber shop on to his kid.
“It’s a tradition. It’s giving my son something that’s a part of me,” Sticatto said. After-hours bonding is typical at Experience. Freshly groomed men linger around watching the shop’s two 42-inch flat screen televisions blasting either a sports game or a male favorite film like “Goodfellas.” “They are my friends. I always come in and say hello,” said car mechanic Junior Goberdhan, 40. “I got to know them. They have character. It takes a special person to be a barber.”
The trimmers said they often moonlight as therapists talking to customers about marriages, children, and careers. “A barber is like a bartender. You can talk to a bartender about anything. We hear a lot of secrets,” Wright said. “If you have a barber, you will develop a personal attachment.”