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We're Open: Kenosha barber's unique way of staying open during the pandemic

Posted at 6:32 PM, Mar 17, 2021
and last updated 2021-03-17 19:32:59-04

KENOSHA — While the pandemic might have closed a Kenosha barber's doors, he has found a way to open them up again.

Mitchell Thomas wasn't going to stay out of work longer than he had to. He loves cutting hair. He knows the impact a clean cut can have.

"A haircut (is) powerful, you know. It can impact you, you know, mentally (and) physically," Thomas said.

Blacktop Barbershop
The mobile Blacktop Barbershop parked in the Civil War Museum parking lot in Kenosha.

So when the pandemic put him out of work, he started to think about the word 'innovate.'

"I was like, 'how do you innovate barbering?' It's been around forever, right?" he said.

That's when he started watching people on Youtube renovate sprinter vans. Then he got an idea: He could renovate a party bus into a mobile barbershop. So that's exactly what he did.

He bought a 13-seat limo bus, and with help from his friend, Andy Roiniotis, turned it into a full-fledged barbershop.

He mostly splits his time at the parking lots for the Civil War Museum in Kenosha and St. Anne's Catholic Church in Pleasant Prairie. However, he also does house calls. The best way to learn where he is going to be is on his Facebook page. You can also find out more information about the barbershop, like prices and how to schedule an appointment, by going to his website.

Business is a little slower right now, he said. He gets about seven customers a day.

Blacktop Barbershop
Mitchell Thomas gives his friend Andy Roiniotis, who helped him put together the mobile barbershop, a haircut.

"I think it's only going to go up from there."

In the future, Thomas hopes that he is able to get another chair in his bus. However, he also wants to take advantage of his newfound mobility. When more people become vaccinated and festivals happen again, he plans to park outside them to offer fresh cuts on the spot.

But in the meantime, he hopes to help people through the pandemic, one haircut at a time.

"A lot of craziness going on in the world, and just kind of make people feel like, you know, spiritually better, and leaving the shop as they can face, you know, the pandemic or whatever problems they were having."

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