Up Close In Ashby: How A Barbershop Named After The Owners' Baby Boy And Drawn Up On A Dining Room Table Three Years Ago Became Award Winners

By Graham Hill

4th Oct 2020 | Local News

Ashby Nub News aims to support our community, promoting shops, businesses, charities, clubs and sports groups.

We will be profiling businesses and organisations who have a story to tell in a regular feature called 'Up Close in Ashby'.

For today's 'Up Close' we caught up with Tommy Burdett, owner of Arthur's barbers in Market Street.

Arthur's has won the Barber of the Year Leicestershire title at the Central England Prestige Awards - just three years after drawing up the idea on a dining room table.

Ashby Nub News spoke to Tommy about the accolade which has come after a difficult year for the industry amid the coronavirus pandemic.

Barbers shops initially had to close in March when lockdown was first announced, but they were given the go-ahead to re-open in July.

Tommy, congratulations on the award, what was your reaction?

Tommy: "It's really good to be recognised for what we're doing. And a great achievement for all the lads in the shop as well. It's good to know that what you're doing is making a difference. within the industry and across-the-board.

"With being shut for so long, it was great to come back and open up again, and we were really busy initially. Then we saw a bit of a drop-off, but it's really steadied out now.

"It's going really well for us again. We are back to where we were probably prior to shutting.

"Things like this give people a bit of confidence to maybe come in and try us for the first time. When we are in that situation, all the customers count.

"We want to try and retain those customers. It just gives people confidence that we know what we are doing."

Did you have an idea this award was coming?

"Not really, we knew we were finalists, then they got in touch a couple of weeks later to say that we'd won and received an award. It was out of the blue."

You say it was an idea you brainstormed on your dining room table. How did that come about?

"I was working over in a shop in Coalville, I always kept on eye on property, but there was no business plan in place. So it was always an idea.

"But then I came to view this building in Ashby and I thought it would be perfect. Then me and my wife, Amie-Jayne, literally got to work on the plans on my dining room table, we came up with the concept, name, and so, from humble beginnings, we turned it into something that's been recognised, receiving awards and doing really well, it's fantastic.

"It was just me and my wife who went into the business. She does a lot of the back of house thing, the social media, the Instagram side of it. That tends to work really well for us.

"And Arthur is my little boy. So that's where the name comes from. He's three years old now. He was about six months old when we came up with the idea. The business has grown up with him."

Did you think it was a bit of a risk? Or did you honestly think this was something that would do really well?

"With anything it's a risk. I was self-employed in somebody else's shop, and I saw the potential there. But I thought the only way to see it through was to go it alone. That was the route we went and it's been a really good jump.

"So far so good. Now we want to grow the brand. We have a brand identity. I'd really like to take that across the county that would be brilliant.

"The goal would be to open a few more shops, but we want to keep the standard we have at the moment, I don't want to dilute it too much. But I'd like to expand it so that other people can see what we're about."

There is obviously a theme to the shop, it is a Mod thing, the scooters, red white and blue?

"We think it's a very traditional barbershop, but with a twist to it. I've got a scooter, so in the summer that would be outside the shop.

"It's an extension of coming in, having a good crack with the boys but also getting the quality of service, you could have a nice cappuccino at the same time maybe a beer in the evenings. We're just taking it up a notch from the traditional classic barbershop."


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