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Thursday, May 10, 2012

The barber is back with Saint Lou’s

Rob Oxner comes home and opens a Gentlemen’s Barber Shop

Posted By on Thu, May 10, 2012 at 7:15 AM

click to enlarge Saint Lou's patron saint Rob Oxner is the hair wizard returned from Oz.
  • Saint Lou's patron saint Rob Oxner is the hair wizard returned from Oz.
Rob Oxner’s barbering has taken him around the world and back.

After a one-year hair styling program at NSCC, he worked at the now-closed Green Room Salon on Hollis Street, then for five years at Spirit Spa before love swept him away to Australia. There, he joined the Doctor Follicles team.

With each cut, Oxner developed a clearer image of his own business.

Now back in his native Halifax to raise a family, Oxner’s soon-to-be-snipping Saint Lou’s Gentlemen’s Barber Shop is set to open May 17. Named after King Louis IX of France, one of four patron saints of barbers, the space in the Habourside Market of the Historic Properties was once home to Spiro’s Hair Cuts. Oxner has kept the barber chair and sink, but the atmosphere of the shop draws from his hair-cutting history.

He dreams to mimic the days when he offered free haircuts to friends in his apartment over beers, chats and music. In his 150 square foot space, the vibe is easily achieved. There’s not enough footage for this vinyl-lover to have a record player, but music is a must. Any genre goes for this barber who’s just as passionate about tunes as he is about hair.

Oxner’s also determined to squeeze in a couple comfy chairs for waiting customers. He won’t be taking appointments, but those who are next in line will be sipping on complementary coffee, thanks to a partnership Oxner is hashing out with neighbouring Two If By Sea Cafe.

He’s hoping the cafe will help draw in a younger crowd of customers to add to the businesspeople who frequent the area. He’s not targeting a specific clientele; rather “pretty much everyone under the sun who wants a haircut,” he says. “Just good people are what we’re looking for.”

Oxner is figuring he’ll charge $17 for a buzz cut, $27 for a traditional trim, and add an extra $10 for a shampoo. Plus, a beard in need of trimming or a straight razor to the back of the neck only bumps the price up $5. Customers can also pop in for $11-worth of facial hair maintenance. “It’s a little bit more than a traditional barber shop, but it’s also a bit less than you would pay at the hair salons in the area,” says Oxner, emphasizing that all his prices will include tax, Australian-style.

He’ll also be offering a line of hair products by the American company Blind Barber but no pushy sales in this shop. Oxner says: “I’m going to be concentrated on giving quality haircuts and hopefully people like them and they like the experience.”

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