Matt, thanks for doing this interview with us today. So tell us how this all started. When you first got started in doing hair and when you decided that you wanted to do your own barber shop?
When I graduated from high school I started playing guitar in a couple different bands. After a few years I realized that rock n roll wasn’t going to pay the bills so in 2003 I decided to attend Oregon Institute of Cosmetology. Following graduation I made my way through a few different salons but never found a place that had the right vibe so I set out to create it myself. That’s when Left Coast Barber Shop was born.
Tell us a little bit about your barber shop. What have you done to create it into a unique space?
I wanted to capture the spirit of a traditional barber shop but with a modern look. My vision was to create a man-cave. A place where guys, no matter what age, can feel comfortable to come in, hang out, and get a great hair cut.
Tell us a little bit about your training?
I studied barbering at the Oregon Institute of Cosmetology in Medford and completed my studies in 2004, being the very first GUY to graduate from the school.
At one point you were done with working in Salons and simply wanted to do things your way. Any comment?
I really wanted to focus on men’s hair so its only natural that I would look to open a barber shop. Having my own shop gives me the freedom to create a unique atmosphere. Almost every person that walks through my door comments on how “cool” the place looks.
Best compliment you ever received after you gave someone a hair cut?
I have a few clients who live out of state and they wait till their travels bring them to Ashland to get their hair cut at my shop. That to me is a huge compliment.
Your brother and his wife own Case Coffee Roasters and you guys are a stones throw away from them. How’s this going for you?
Tim and Kati do such a great job and they have been so helpful in sending some of their customers my way. Plus, I can’t complain about being a few steps away from the best coffee in Ashland.
The space you are in actually was already a barber shop owned by Floyd Grimes for nearly 30 years. When he decided to retire you came in and took over the spot. Can you share a little about this story?
For years whenever I would pass by Floyds shop with friends I would always joke that I was going to open my own barber shop if that space became available. One day there was actually a for rent sign in the window and I knew I couldn’t let the opportunity pass me by. After the keys were in my hand I recruited my dad and we set out to renovate Left Coast Barber Shop into what it is today and I’ve been having a great time ever since.
What’s your favorite thing about your job?
I love cutting hair but meeting cool new people everyday is definitely my favorite part of my job. My clients bring in such great energy and they make Left Coast Barber Shop a fun and enjoyable place to work.
Your Top Music Albums or All Time?
- Descendents – Everything Sucks
- MXPX – Life In General
- Operation Ivy – Energy
- Rancid – Life Wont Wait
- Unwritten Law – Unwritten Law
Any interesting history or facts about being a barber that we might have never heard of before?
Most people don’t know that barbers in addition to cutting hair used to be surgeons and dentists. They also used to perform blood letting. Fortunately that is no longer the case.
You also love music and often can be seen sitting in the barber shop working on a song or two in between clients. Tell us about your love for music?
When I was in high school I discovered punk rock. I loved the energy and simplicity and wanted to create it myself. Writing songs is like an obsession. I always have scraps of paper with lyrics and song ideas in my pockets, in drawers, and in endless amounts of notebooks. I have released three full-length albums and several E.P.s
You also have two young childeren. Will you share a little bit about your family with us?
My wife and I have a three year old daughter and a four month old son. One of our favorite things to do is grab a couple coffees, a hot chocolate, and a vegan donut from Case Coffee Roasters, bundle our kids up, and head down to the Nature Center for an adventure.
Your favorite restaurant in town?
We have a busy schedule but when my wife and I have a chance to slip away you will most likely find us at Caldera or Paddy Brennan;s Irish Pub. They both have great food and amazing beer. You cant go wrong.
Any last thoughts or comments for our readers?
These past few months its been awesome to see my dreams for the shop become a reality. I hope you will come in and be a part of Left Coast Barber Shops future
Left Coast Barber Shop
422 Bridge St.