By Carlie Kollath/NEMS Daily Journal
TUPELO – Aaron Washington has his fingers in several businesses, but barbering is his main passion.
In fact, he considers his barbering business more as a ministry, especially the A+ Mobile Barber Shop.
Washington has been barbering since 1993. He grew up in Smithville and played football at Itawamba Community College. He decided to go into the industry his last semester of school.
“I tell people I didn’t go into barbering,” he said. “The barbering business was in me. … I’ve been in business for myself since I was 22, 23.”
He opened a shop in Amory called A+ Barber Shop. He later added another location in Sulligent, Ala.
“I was always going back and forth and people would tell me, ‘You’re always on the move,’ and that’s how I came up with the mobile shop,” Washington said.
Washington uses the three-year-old mobile shop to haul his equipment to his customers. Mississippi state law prohibits hair cuts inside a vehicle. He has contracts with nursing homes and assisted living facilities and visits them on a monthly basis.
Other times, he’ll use the mobile service to visit his older customers who can’t get out of the house. Most of those cuts, he said, are free.
“Some people are sick and bedridden,” he said. “I feel like God gave me the skills to help them. You can’t charge for everything you do.”
The sales inside the actual shops are the bulk of his business, but he enjoys helping the people who need him to go to them.
“There’s no telling what they’ll ask you in a nursing home,” he said. “People are fun, period. You never know what to expect day to day.”
Washington said he’s had his hair cut weekly since he was 1. The weekly ritual is part of his lifestyle, and he said he shares that with many of his customers. But he said he’s seen too many of his friends and customers get older and not get a hair cut for a variety of reasons.
He hopes A+ Mobile Barber Shop can help restore some normalcy to their lives.
“There is a need,” he said. “No matter your age, race or place, you still deserve to look good. It could be my grandma, my grandpa, me or you.”
In 10 years, he hopes the business will grow into a fleet of vans across Mississippi. His growth is constrained now because he can’t be everywhere at once, but he’s looking to add more workers so he can grow his contract business.
“It’s got to be a calling,” he said. “Just anybody isn’t going to do it.”
Contact Carlie Kollath at (662) 678-1598 or firstname.lastname@example.org.