About the Biz
- Company Name: A Barber’s Café & Bar
- Who we talked with: Owner, Alexander Hakim
- Year established: 2016
- How to Find Them: www.abarberscafeandbar.com
- Socialize: Facebook, Instagram
Get to Know: A Barber’s Café & Bar
A Barber’s Café & Bar is a Cornelius-based, one-stop barber shop providing haircut and shaving services in a cool and family-friendly environment.
As a business owner, what resource organizations have helped you along the way, and how?
As my wife and I were in the initial process of setting up the barber shop, the first organization from the local ecosystem we started working with was Prospera. First, we attended one of their business seminars in Spanish about how to start a business. Then, we scheduled what we thought was going to be one individual consultation session, but it turned out to be an ongoing, hand-holding consulting process. After more than two years of countless hours of guidance about licensing, permitting, marketing, and securing financing through micro-loan assistance, we have continued to rely on their in-culture and expertise. Prospera has become a trustworthy and close friend of our business.
What has been the biggest lesson learned during your entrepreneurial journey, and how have you used that to grow your business?
The majority of Hispanic entrepreneurs are economically disadvantaged immigrants who came to the U.S. to pursue the American Dream from unstable societies in Central America, South America, or the Caribbean. Many were fleeing dictatorships in Venezuela and Cuba; civil wars in Colombia, Nicaragua, and El Salvador; drug-cartel violence and economic crisis in Mexico, and even natural disasters like Puerto Ricans after Hurricane Maria destroyed the island. Whatever our motivation, we have come to the U.S. and quickly learned that starting a business is our best chance to achieve that dream; a process in which we don’t account for risk. Our chances of failing are high if we don’t get the support we need. That’s why I learned to be resilient and look for resources and support within my community.
What unique challenges have you faced as the owner of a barber shop? How have you overcome those challenges?
The initial challenge was understanding the building licensing process as we set up the barber shop. Then, not knowing the different micro-loan programs available, how to apply and preparing a business plan with projections.
How did we overcome these challenges? We looked for help in our native language to understand how to fully and successfully apply for specific licenses and secure funding.
Please tell us more about what inspired you to create such a unique barber experience?
For my wife and I, starting our own business was more than becoming financially independent, it was about doing what we love to do while having fun. We also noticed an opportunity to bring a different barber experience with an innovative approach to Cornelius based on the idea that getting a well-done haircut at a barbershop does not have to be boring. We are going into our third year in business, and we have more than validated our analysis.