Columbia has more than 30 hair salons and barbershops, but its newest might be the most unusual. In fact, The Buzz offers something that no other barbershop in the state of Missouri does. It sells beer.
The spinning blue and red barbershop pole outside The Buzz, 9 N. Eighth St., began turning March 9 after eight months of paperwork and construction.
Owner and barber Seth Reynolds said he got the idea to sell beer at a barbershop while attending barber school at the Academy of Hair Design in Springfield.
“I just thought it made sense,” he said. “It’s a good way to keep guys happy when we’ve got a packed house.”
Currently, Reynolds employs one other stylist, Kim Nevels. Nevels was hired after responding to a classified ad in the newspaper.
When he went to get the liquor and barbershop licenses, Reynolds said he was told he was the only person in Missouri to have the two licenses combined.
“There was a lot of paperwork and no one had heard of (issuing both licenses), so that took a little longer, but it finally happened,” Reynolds said. “I thought they needed another barbershop downtown. There’s only one, and it’s always packed.”
The name was suggested by a friend, he said.
“You can come in and catch a buzz two ways,” Reynolds said.
Reynolds lived in Columbia for three years before leaving to attend barber school. After graduating two years ago, he returned to open the shop.
Response has been good, Reynolds said, with about two-thirds of customers ordering a drink. The Buzz offers a wide selection of bottled beer, and even daily drink specials — Stag and Pabst for $1.
Reynolds said they serve only bottles at the barbershop to prevent hair from falling into the customer’s beer.
“If you keep it at arm’s length, it would be pretty tough to get hair into it,” he said. “Plus, it’s your own hair.”
Reynolds said all the customers have thought that selling beer at a barbershop is a good idea.
“Not too many guys object to drinking beer, and everyone needs a haircut,” he said.
Three televisions, visible from the four chairs, hang on the walls to broadcast the latest sporting event or news.
“I’ve got control of (the remote), but if they want to watch something, we can turn it on,” Reynolds said.
The finishing touches still need to be added to the shop, Reynolds said. And he’s trying to find ways to appeal to a younger audience.
“I like to mix old with new, trying to keep the ideals of old but with something new,” he said.
In addition to selling beer, Reynolds said he plans on hanging beer signs and hopes to display art by local artists on the walls.
Customer Justin Glow sat in one of the oversized leather barber chairs while he got a haircut and drank a bottle of Budweiser.
“I cut out from work a little early to get a haircut,” he said. “A friend told me to get a haircut and a beer.”
As Reynolds cut Glow’s hair, he laughed and said he has thought about men stopping by from work.
“We’ll start selling gum and mints so your breath won’t smell like (beer) when you go back to work,” he said.
Reynolds said he figures there are some types of guys who will definitely take advantage of his kind of shop.
“It’s for the guy who gets off work and needs a haircut and wants to have a drink,” he said.”If you’re going out that night, you can come in with the guys, get a haircut and have a few beers before going out.”