Jay Fohey, owner of Schmidt and White Barber Shop, realizes dream of own shop following 14-month restoration
Jay Fohey vividly remembers the moment he knew what he wanted to do for his career.
“I woke up one day about four years ago, and decided I wanted to be a barber,” he said.
That dream is becoming a reality after years of dedication, plenty of elbow grease and volunteer assistance during months of restoration work.
Fohey attended cosmetology school in Hannibal, receiving a barber license during his studies. A little over a year ago, Fohey and his partner, Joe Whelan, purchased the building at 322 Center St. They worked with Bob Leake; Fohey's parents, Kevin and Susan; and his brothers, Tyler and Daniel, to completely restore the building, stripping it down to the studs.
The hardwood floors, barber poles and vintage-inspired artwork reflect a traditional barber shop atmosphere, while aspects like the indigo exterior color add contemporary flourishes.
“We were able to get it exactly to where I wanted it to be,” he said.
Fohey received positive comments about the building's appearance from passersby and visitors during his first two days of business Tuesday and Wednesday, he said. He chuckled as he referred to his shop as being “downtown-adjacent” — close to Main St. and reflective of the recent renovations to Broadway's storefronts nearby.
Fohey is looking forward to providing traditional barber shop services, like men's haircuts, beard trimming, hot-towel shaves and line-ups between haircuts. He said he also provides waxing services, which are one of the modern touches to complement the traditional services. He's also eager to give hairstyles for everyone in the family.
“The biggest thing I'm looking forward to is being a contributing and hopefully valued member of downtown business,” he said.