Skip to main content

There's a big opportunity for a new barbershop in Batavia, says young entrepreneur

By Howard B. Owens

There's no record to confirm, but it's probably been decades since a new barbershop opened in Batavia.

Sure, there have been plenty of hair salons that have opened, but a barbershop, it's almost as if they went out of style with, well, styling.

According to Brandon Armstrong, barbershops remain popular in bigger cities and he decided to bring some of the same flair of the modern barbershop to Batavia.

The Batavia resident has opened City Styles at the corner of Ellicott and Liberty streets (before any of us were born, the location of a corner grocery drug store called Gioia's, but more recently, the location of Mother's Chicken & Fish).

"In the bigger cities, there's a bigger barbershop culture," said the 22-year-old Armstrong. "The barbershop is a big part of their daily life."

Besides haircuts, Armstrong also offers hot towel shaves.

There are only three barbershop schools in New York and one of them, Sheer Eagle, is in Rochester, which is where Armstrong studied. He also worked as a barber at Le Roy Manor.

"There's a big demand here for a barbershop that serves a younger crowd," Armstrong said, explaining why he opened a barbershop. "I've always wanted to be my own boss. I used to work for my cousin Brian Kemp at T-Shirts Etc. and I saw that I would like working for myself."

While Armstrong believes his shop will be the only one in town with an expertise in African-American hairstyles, he isn't putting up a barber pole out just to serve one segment of Batavia's population.

"I can cut anybody's hair," Armstrong said. "I'm well-rounded and have lots of experience with all styles."

Pictured with Armstrong is Eric Smith, Armstrong's first paying customer after Armstrong opened Wednesday afternoon.

William Wombatski

Don't worry, I am high-and-tight! I have never had such a perfect fade as when Brandon hooked me up.

Sep 8, 2011, 2:31pm Permalink
Bea McManis

The business on the corner of Ellicott and Liberty St. was a drug store (Gioia's); the grocery store was/and still is across the street.
Good luck on the new business.

Sep 8, 2011, 4:00pm Permalink
George Richardson

Oh yeah, Gioia's! My childhood friend Frankie's Grandpa owned it, his dad worked there and my Grandpa had all of his 8mm film developed through there, I still have it. When I got older, vague aquaintances smashed a car through the front window and grabbed bottles of downers. They got caught. I think that might have been '72 or '73.
Badtavia, New York. A,B,C,D Ricky last night? Did you puke too?

Sep 8, 2011, 4:35pm Permalink

Authentically Local