The Irish Barber
The Irish Barber is a one-stop shop if you want a smart haircut, a perfect pint and a taste of owner Sean Gormley’s home country. Gormley, who has been a barber since age 15 when he began grooming heads in Derrie, Ireland, has grown a loyal following on Cleveland’s west side.
This year marks a decade in business for Gormley, who opened the doors to his Rocky River shop in January 2002. The Irish immigrant (he came to The States in 1995) spent six years working for a barber in Fairview Park before starting his own business.
"I have clients who followed me and little kids that started getting their hair cut when they were babies and they still go to me know," he says, adding that every day, he welcomes new customers to his quaint shop, which is located at the corner of Center Ridge and Wooster Roads.
Business perks such as discounts at OfficeMax are a great help to Gormley's shop. He uses that benefit to cut the cost on printing advertising materials and purchasing ink cartridges - the little things add up. Plus, Gormley utilizes COSE health insurance through Medical Mutual and takes advantage of wellness opportunities. "that got me motivated to start a health program," he says.
From Barber to Barman
The Irish Barber has expanded his business over the years. Recently, Gormley added a bar called The Corner Pub when he built out the space to include a waiting room and pub area.
"With this being such a busy shop, customers can wait and have a beer or a pop and watch the big screens if there is a wait," he says, adding that a challenge of his business is the expectation that his chair will always be open, and his welcoming Irish brogue will always greet customers. It’s tough to get away from the shop when clients come just to see you. But what Gormley loves the most about being a barber is all of the people he meets each day and the relationships he has built over the years. "I have a lot of customers I call friends now," he says.
Continued Growth and Opportunity
Gormley hired a third full-time barber to manage increased business with the pub addition, which gives clientele an authentic Irish experience they won’t find at a typical American barber shop. There’s usually soccer on T.V., and always a pint (or pop) for customers who are waiting for a haircut or simply stopping in for a taste of Irish Barber hospitality.
"People come in and feel relaxed," Gormley says. "The pub creates a different atmosphere for customers, and it keeps a feeling of home here for me, too."