Joey Williams and Marcell Taylor, friends from Albion, started talking about opening a business together six years ago, when Williams was still in high school.
A few weeks ago, it all finally came together when they opened Clean Cut Barbershop at 466 Ellicott St., Batavia.
"The most ironic part is he's actually the one who got me into barbering," Williams said. "I used to do it as a hobby and he told me, 'dude, I think you can get pretty serious about this. Let's go check out a school.'
"Once you start cutting a couple of people in the neighborhood, the kids started talking and the word gets around," Williams added. "I didn’t really take it serious at first and then I graduated high school and that’s when he was like, let’s get a move on things."
Williams started barbering school and Taylor, who had completed his training in cosmetology at Continental School of Beauty in Batavia, honed his craft working in the basement of his mother's house.
After a couple of years, Taylor was ready to open a shop, but Williams wasn't quite there yet, so Taylor went ahead and opened up on his own in Albion. The process was on-the-job training for starting and running a business, so after Williams apprenticed in Brockport for a couple of years, he told Williams it was time to get going on their plans.
It was up to Williams to find the location.
"I told him as long as you can do some quality cuts and get some good barbers in here, I can take care of the paperwork and everything," said Taylor, who describes himself as as "an entrepreneur by day and by night," and he's also a partner in Taylor and Taylor Consulting, an accounting firm.
They picked Batavia because it's a big enough city that is centrally located and they think there is open space for a barbershop that offers modern haircuts.
They also want to grow a business that has an impact on the local community. Their shop is more than a barbershop. They have a pool table and are planning to bring in TVs with video games where they can host Madden tournaments and perhaps erect a basketball hoop in the parking lot.
"It’s all just a way to bring kids together and kind of get away from all the negativity that is out there," Williams said. "We want to offer different activities that help kids stay out of trouble. We both come from a background where it was a struggle to find programs for youth and we see a need out there."
Taylor said they hope they can be a positive influence that shows kids they can accomplish things in life.
"We want to help the youth out there know that there is a future out there beyond what maybe they know right now," Taylor said.