Joe Randazzo is living the dream. The former artistic director for Sassoon left New York City in 2003 to open J Salon in Honolulu, Hawaii, with business partner Gary Casupang. Since then, his beach-blonde looks have attracted clients in droves to the 3,800-square-foot salon with stylish yet minimalist décor. Still, after going to Rotterdam to take a class with the Schorem Barbers, he realized that he was not doing enough to court the burgeoning male market. He’s not alone. Salons all around the country are losing business to barbershops, which know exactly what men want and are prepared to give it to them. So late last year Randazzo opened a pop-up barbershop in a room he had been using as an office. The idea was to test the waters, but business grew so quickly that he made Phil’s Barber Shop (named after his grandfather, who was a barber in Michigan from 1931 to 1951) a permanent fixture. On the menu: haircuts, beard trims and two types of straight razor shaves: the Classic and the Gentleman’s Shave—an ultra-relaxing experience that includes a facial scrub, cold and hot towels, and a moisturizing treatment. Phil’s has become so popular in such a short amount of time that Randazzo, who is already outgrowing the space he’s in, is talking about opening a second location. “Back in Michigan, my grandfather’s barbershop was the place where everyone went to hang out, so it made sense to name my barbershop after him,” he says. “All of the pictures on the walls are authentic family photos of my grandfather and his friends. We wanted to bring a little bit of that classic flavor to our barbershop.” While men had always seemed comfortable having services at the salon, Randazzo admits that many of them have become regular clients at Phil’s. “I love that,” he says. Somehow we think his grandfather is smiling.
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