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The Business View – December 2015/January 2016 / Small Business of the Month
Gregory Morris Sr. knew from a young age that he wanted to be a barber. His father was what he called a “bootleg” – or unlicensed – barber, and Morris decided as a teenager that he wanted to go to school to enter the profession himself.
“I got into it and found out I loved it,” Morris said. “I enjoyed the satisfaction of seeing the customer, when I gave them the mirror or turned them to the mirror and let them look at the finished cut, to see the smile on their face.”
After going to school and doing a stint in the U.S. Army, Morris worked in another barber shop in the late 1970s before opening his own on Michigan Avenue in 1980. Thirty-six years and two moves later, Greg’s Professional Barber Shop and Beauty Salon is still open on Duval Street. Morris’ shop is honored here as the Mobile Area Chamber of Commerce’s Small Business of the Month.
“You’re really more than a barber. You’re a friend, you’re a confidant, you’re just a lot of things to people,” Morris said. “I still have clients who, nobody’s ever cut their hair but me. We’re into some cases now where I’m in, I know, the third and possibly the early fourth generation with some families.”
Morris said those personal relationships are what has kept his business thriving, as well as the professional development that he and his five employees continue to seek out. Morris has attained the status of master barber and master cosmetologist, and he and his staff regularly attend national beauty industry trade shows such as the Bronner Brothers International Beauty Show in Atlanta and the Professional Beauty Association show in Long Beach, Calif. “That’s continuing education to keep us abreast of what’s going on in the industry,” he said.
Well into his third decade in business, Morris now is branching out into becoming a government vendor in order to manage barbering facilities on military installations. He’s also active in several community organizations and speaks in schools as a Partner in Education.
“It’s a part of giving back, just trying to help people,” Morris said. “We run across a lot of different people from different walks of life. I’ve always been a guy who likes to give back because somebody helped me one day to get started, gave me an opportunity. So I try to go back and do that to help people fulfill their dreams.”
Click here to read The Business View – December 2015/January 2016