Navy Veterans Open Barbershop, Safe Haven for Other Military Members

by Matthew Memrick
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Navy veterans started an Arizona barbershop that turned into “The Spot” for all military members.

Charles Jackson, an Army veteran who served multiple tours, started the Chandler, Ariz. barbershop.

Veteran and customer Tyler Sundsmo recently got his hair cut there by fellow Navy veteran and barber Johnathan Clarke.

While Clarke told ABC 15 that “it’s awesome to be able to talk to someone that knows what I’m talking about,” Sundsmo said it was great because the men could bond over their service.

Johnson’s business is one of the hundreds of veteran-owned barbershops throughout the country. To see if you need a little trim, check out this list.

Barbershop Helping Veterans Cope

Jackson said he hopes veterans can come to his barbershop to socialize and form strong bonds of friendship.

Sundsmo explained to his wife that the barbershop does a great job cutting his hair, but it takes a while. He admits there’s some talking and story sharing going on as well.

Another Navy veteran named Chris Andreson said his service in Somalia caused him to withdraw from people. He suffered psychological wounds during that time. But the barbershop has helped him cope with those issues. He went there recently for a beard trim.

“(The world is) a very lonely place to be until you go to someplace like this, these guys are just more than willing to talk to you because they’ve been there and they know,” Andersen told the TV station.

Veterans Use Barbershop To Talk About Everything

They talk just about everything at Jackson’s shop. Some topics included how tough it is to come home and work with the Veterans Administration.  

Clarke, a longtime barber at the shop, said he often shares what he’s learned and what’s worked “for us” to customers. He said many customers are looking for answers on their mental struggles, relating to their families, and ways to solve problems.

The barber also said he’s willing to listen and commends those who are brave enough to ask for help while in the barber chair.

That’s what draws in former servicemembers like Sundsmo, who can come in and listen to experienced folks. He said he has a mutual admiration for them.

Jackson said the camaraderie makes it seem like everyone is “back in the military.” He said the former servicemembers could be comfortable talking and analyzing things during active duty. 

NC Veteran Barbershop Has Wall Of Honor 

Two Whispering Pines veterans opened up a military-inspired barbershop with the same idea. The North Carolina owners also have a kid play area at the Headquarters (HQ) Barbershop and Shave Lounge.

The duo hires veterans and stocks products like (veteran-owned) Black Rifle Coffee in the shop.

Co-owner and Army veteran James Zell also started the HQ Wall of Heroes initiative, setting aside a wall of his shop where customers can recognize a hero in their life by bringing in a framed copy of a military photo for display. The barbershop also offers discounted cuts for veterans, active-duty service members, and first responders. 

“We need to take care of these folks. They deserve it,” Zell said.

Outsider.com