Hale said he is a native of Portsmouth, who spent nearly 30 years in Houston, Texas, and returned to Portsmouth about four years ago to be with family when his sister was diagnosed with cancer.
He did some cutting for friends and family in Texas, but said he never took it seriously until he moved back into the area and purchased the Royal Salon in Lucasville in 2004, which he renamed Angie's Hair Palace.
Angie, he said, was an employee of his at the salon whom he put into management while he was away.
“After studying the marketplace, it just made sense to open that kind of business,” he said. “I thought, if you can't beat them, join them, and I went out and got a license from the state.”
In January of this year, Hale opened this, his newest business. In his shop on Brant Avenue, Hale offers flat-tops, mohawks, military cuts, shavings, full-body waxing, cosmetology and nearly all extreme cuts.
“It's been a little slow from the beginning, but it's picking up nicely now,” Hale said of business.
He said he'll be joined by another person next week, and together they will be able to see nearly 60 people each day.
“One of the things about this particular enterprise is that it's never been done,” he said. “The combination of barber and cosmetology has never been done that way. It's always been cosmetology allowing one barber's chair to be there, and then a decisive wall.”
Now that the state has changed its regulations, he said he was able to expand his business to offer more to his customers, including renting out four chairs along the north wall to cosmetologists who want to use his building.
“(We do) the hair colors, the perms, any kind of cut that they want. If they can bring us a good picture of it, at least half of a 360, I should be able to cut it out,” he said.
He said in typical society, it's the men who come to the barber shops and the women who frequent cosmetologists. But in today's world, he adds, things are mixed together more.
Hale said he takes walk-in customers, but also said other barbers and cosmetologists who rent chairs in his building have the right to set appointments if they'd like.
RYAN SCOTT OTTNEY can be reached at (740) 353-3101, ext. 235, and by e-mail at email@example.com.