Saturday, March 14th saw Greystones newest Barbers, Cole & Co. Barber Shop open its doors for the first time only to close again in the interest of public health after just one day’s trading. As the shop build and preparations for opening were coming to an end, the media coverage and government information around COVID-19 was really ramping up. The decision had to be taken quickly to close again, but it did bring with it a bit of unexpected fame; “Now Cole & Co. is known as that guy who only got to open for a day” jokes owner and barber Paul Cole.
Whilst this wasn’t exactly the ideal start for a new business, this is not dampening the spirits of this new venture. Owned and run by husband and wife team, Paul and Louise Cole, the barber shop is a realization of a desire for Paul to work in his own community. It was a family affair from the start with Paul’s builder father doing the shop fit-out to a very high standard.
As a barber, Paul has worked in some of the top barbershops on Dublin City’s South William Street for the past eight years including The Fireplace Barbershop and The Grooming Rooms. When he and his family moved to Newtownmountkennedy five years ago, they knew that the next step was to work towards basing Pauls’ working life near home. “There’s something really nice about living and working in the same community. My wife is already based in Bray for her job and opening Cole & Co. in Greystones means our lives will be very much based around the area and community we love” says Paul.
Being community based was always a focus for this couple, but the last few months have really brought this idea to the fore. Lockdown and the need to stay home and stay local has of course been difficult and challenging for many people, but there are lessons to be learned too. Shopping local and supporting local has never been more important and as we gradually start to re-open businesses and re-open our economy, we are seeing that the survival of business and the survival of our small towns and communities depends on people staying local.
The Greystones business community has really pulled together to support each other through this difficult time. Competition and rivalry has been replaced by support and solidarity with many sectors pulling together to support and promote each other. A great example of this is that the Hair and Beauty Salons in the area came together and started a Facebook group. It became a place where they could share support and advice and decide on best practice going forward as they all face the same challenges around reopening safely but in a way that still allows their business to survive.
Despite the challenges ahead for all small businesses, barbering has taken a real jump in popularity over the last few years. “It’s actually great to see so many men taking a bit of time for themselves and enjoying the experience of getting their hair cut and having the banter with their barber and this is going to be even more important now as we reopen our community” says Paul.
For more information visit www.coleandcobarbershop.ie or @coleandcobarbershop on Instagram and Facebook.