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Windsor Barbershop Transformation Goes a Cut Above

Monday, January 1, 2018


It’s not every day that your barber doubles as your bartender.

But this is not your average barbershop.

Since 2007, The Man’s Shop, located at 2587 Howard Avenue in Windsor, has served up beers alongside haircuts to male customers. A little more than 10 years later, the barbershop has undergone changes to its concept and services, thanks to partners James and Ryan Lapeer, whom purchased the business from a friend last summer.

“We had a little bit of a different vision to incorporate women into the barbershop and we were told there would be an uproar against that.  Actually, it’s been the opposite. Everyone thinks it’s amazing because of the atmosphere we’ve created – it’s welcoming to men and women,” said Ryan.

Barbershops are traditionally a place for men to get haircuts or hot towel shaves, and women seeking services can be turned away. However, James noted, “there’s a lot of women that want an undercut fade or hair tattooing, which are traditional barbershop skill sets.”

“We went co-ed,” said Ryan. “That’s a big change in the community.”

Other noticeable changes to the business include renovations to the entire space to include a full-service bar and kitchen. The owners fashioned the walls with wood pallets, reclaimed church pews, and added a granite bar from Casagrande Granite & Marble. The kitchen serves lunch and dinner, with a variety of paninis, wraps, salads, appetizers, and homemade desserts.

With the assistance of family and friends, the barbershop was kept open throughout renovations. “[Customers] liked seeing the change, the renovations, transforming from what it was,” said Ryan.

Overlooking the bar is the salon, with five barber chairs and retail products. The transformed dining-and-bar space has capacity for 57 people, and there are plans to open a 26-person patio this year.

The owners decided to change the name of the business slightly to The Man’s Shop and Barbershop Bar in order to promote the new and inclusive services.

“[The business] had a good reputation for 10 years as far as clientele goes … so we wanted to expand on that idea and on the other services,” said Ryan.

“We’re open seven days a week, which is a new concept we added in. We’re about the only barbershop in the area that’s open on Sundays and Mondays, so we gain a lot of clientele from that aspect.”

James added, “We’re still in the same location, but yet our services are different. We’ve hired people, which is wonderful.  So we’re growing the economy in that sense, which is really nice.”

The Man’s Shop went from two to 10 employees in the last four months, and the owners are looking to hire several more barbers.

While the owners and clients are adapting to the new changes, for James and Ryan the business presented some new challenges.  Both men continue to work full-time as nurses, and Ryan, who is originally from Michigan, had to learn the ropes of Windsor’s municipal licensing, permits, and the Canadian taxation system.

Luckily, Ryan has an entrepreneurial background. He currently operates an online jewellery business, and has worked for more than 10 years in the US, owning and operating a banquet centre, cake business, restaurant, and rental properties. Both partners recently completed the Small Business Centre’s scaleUP Financial program, gaining insight into business tax obligations, pricing, and strategic planning for The Man’s Shop.

“[scaleUP financial] was so important.  I can’t say enough about it,” said James.

The owners are excited for the future of the business. In addition to the products and services they already offer, they’re also hosting regular events such as karaoke on Wednesdays and Sundays, and monthly comedy nights, with proceeds to local charities. There’s also plans to open another location in the future.

“In four months, it’s been absolutely … I don’t know, it feels like two years,” said James.  “It’s definitely a second home.”