Smile Politely

Late feature: BEST new barber shop: Midwest Barber Company

I had heard about Midwest Barber Co. opening up in downtown Champaign, and all good things. I was honestly just waiting for a good reason to leave my current barber, overbooking my last two appointments was more than enough to leave me feeling de-valued. I noticed it wasn’t featured in our BEST list, so I’d like to recognize it: BEST new barber shop in C-U.

As 20 minutes passed by my original appointment time, I stood up from the waiting area and walked straight over to Midwest Barber Co. in hopes of gaining a walk-in appointment. I didn’t know much about the shop, besides the fact that it was adjoined to New Life Tattoos, home of traditional tattoos in the C-U area. 

Instantly, I was overtaken by the hundred of tattoo sketches covering the walls. You get this old school feeling taking you back to the days when tattooing wasn’t as common as it is now. Which matches perfectly with the old school men’s haircuts that are starting to come back into style. Everytime I get a cut, the shop reminds me of my grandpa, a Navy veteran with a handful of traditional tattoos he got everytime he docked.

Within five minutes I was able to walk in and get in the chair, which was impressive as Matt Daugherty, owner, is the sole barber of the shop. Being the only barber and owner, Matt really emphasizes the quality of his haircuts, taking his time to make sure every hair falls in line; prioritizing quality over quantity.

Matt’s services include: haircuts, razor fades, beard trims, head shaves, buzz cuts, and hot towel shaves, all at very reasonable prices without the pesky little add-on fees.

I got in contact with Matt to get his exact words about his goals of opening the shop and what type of response the downtown Champaign area has given.

“Tattoo shops and barber shops have a long history together. However, in a modern setting it is uncommon to see the combination of the two in a city that’s this size. I set out to hopefully fill a void in the downtown Champaign area. A place that promotes classic, modern and counter culture hairstyles and lifestyles as well. A place where you feel connected to a group of people. Sort of like a club house. Tattoo shops tend to naturally have that vibe so pairing by with New Life Tattoos was a sure fire way to make that happen. I hope that people pick up on a sense of community when they visit. Being part of the local/downtown scene is very important to us.

The response has been overwhelming. Doing something a little outside of what I feel people traditionally expect out of a barbershop was a little scary. I’ve been proven wrong by how many different people from all walks of life visit for a service on a regular basis. Other local business owners have been very supportive and welcoming since the day we opened our doors. I think highly of what others have established downtown so it has been rather humbling to be accepted into that fold.”

To finish conversation, Matt wanted to urge that partnerning with New Life Tattoos made this entire dream of his possible. Together they bring in loads of new customers, some coming in for tattoos and leaving with a new tattoo and a haircut and some coming in for a haircut and leaving withthat and a new tattoo. Whatever service you walk into the building seeking, you’ll leave satisfied, guaranteed.

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