By Wendy Holdren
What started as a simple hobby back in his military days is now a flourishing business for Donnie Snyder.
Snyder, owner of The County Shop, a barber shop in Crossroads Mall in Beckley, has recently opened a second location in Fayetteville, The County Shop and Salon.
“It’s funny because I wanted to go to barber school in 2001, 2004 and 2007, but I never went because I never really thought you could make money at it,” Snyder said.
After joining the military, receiving a buzz cut, then moving into Advanced Individual Training (AIT), Snyder said he was allowed to have a little more hair on top.
“But they left a ring around the edge of my head and I hated it. I started fading that out so it looked normal, and all the guys in the military wanted me to do it. It stemmed from that.”
He said he went on to sell cars for over seven years and worked in the mines for three years, but after those shifts were finished, there was a barber chair waiting for him in his garage.
“I would get off from those jobs and have a barber chair in my garage and cut hair for a few guys I knew. I did that on the side for like 10 years.”
Snyder said he worked at the Upper Big Branch mine up until just a few weeks before the April 5, 2010, explosion. After discussing his future aspirations with his wife and family, he decided to finally take the leap and go to barber school.
Before he opened his own business though, he wanted to scope out the scene.
“I sat outside of Master Cuts and counted how many guys went in there. I couldn’t believe how many guys went into a salon for a haircut. I thought if I could get this spot right across from them, then guys would have another option.”
The County Shop opened its doors Aug. 13, 2011, and marketed itself as a guy-friendly, convenient place to get a haircut.
“The reaction to the shop at first was a bit hesitant because it’s a new person cutting your hair,” Snyder said, but soon, men, women and children started frequenting the shop.
“Kids love it because of the big TVs and the upbeat music.”
Snyder explained that many barber shops have one style of haircut they offer, but that’s not how things work at The County Shop.
“In our shop, you can get any style. We can do an old-fashioned haircut, a fade, a taper. You’re going to be able to tell our barber or beautician what you want, and you’re going to be able to get it. We can do designs, and I can put pictures in your head.”
At both locations, highlights, foils, hair coloring, waxing, perms and more are offered.
“Anything that you can get done at a salon, you can get done here at our salon.”
Snyder also prides his shop as being one of the only shops around that still offers straight-razor shaves.
While the Raleigh County location is a bit more tailored to male clients, the Fayette location offers a unique experience for both men and women.
“We cut men and women’s hair in Beckley, but the one thing I noticed in the mall, the women who go to Penney’s, they’re kind of blocked off from the public. A lot of people are walking by in the mall and a lot of women don’t like guys seeing them like that, with foils in their hair, especially with so many guys coming through the shop.
“But here, at the Fayetteville location, I have the salon in the same building, but you can’t see it unless you walk in the back.”
Customers who prefer the salon experience instead of the barber shop will (literally) walk the red carpet, lined with LED lights, past full-length mirrors to get the royal treatment.
“They really will appreciate what we have here. They’re going to feel special. They can check themselves out on the way in, then they can see what they look like coming out too, and they don’t have to deal with the barbers at all. There’s nothing like this shop in southern West Virginia.”
Leather couches line the waiting area, and a pool table is on site for entertainment.
“It’s a lot different from the one in Beckley.”
The County Shop and Salon is located between Walmart and Lowe’s in Fayetteville at the Fayette Town Center.
Walk-ins only at the Beckley location, 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. Monday through Saturday and 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Sunday. Appointments can be scheduled for hair coloring.
Hours at the Fayetteville location are 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. Monday through Saturday and noon to 6 p.m. Sunday. Walk-ins only for the barber shop and walk-ins or appointments are accepted at the salon.
For more information, call 304-252-CUTS or 304-574-CUTS.
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