“My job was to take that veil down and show different kinds of people getting haircuts from barbers of a multitude of ethnicities.”Jerome Williams Jr.
Jerome Williams Jr. is disrupting the traditional barbershop. “Why not take my fantastic product to where there are lots of people?” Jerome asked. “All different types of people come in to the grocery store to get milk and light bulbs. My job is to convince those people to come into my barber shop.”
Jerome grew up in Robbins, Illinois and was destined to be an entrepreneur. He served in the Marine Corps and traveled the world. “Entering into the Marine Corps was the first step outside of my comfort zone,” said Jerome. “I’ve gone to Hong Kong, the Philippines, Guam, and Thailand where I interacted with different types of people in a professional way.”
After returning home from abroad, Jerome went to nursing school but quickly realized that nursing was not his passion. Desperate to find a job, he decided to try his hand at barbering. He immediately fell in love with cutting hair and was driven by the art, finesse, and business savvy needed to be successful. With the idea to meet people where they are already going every day, he quickly set-up his first shop in a Meijer grocery store in Highland, Indiana.
Jerome prioritized hiring a diverse staff in order to reach a wide audience of customers. “You can get a haircut pretty much anywhere,” Jerome said. “My job was to take that veil down and show different kinds of people getting haircuts from barbers of a multitude of ethnicities.”
In 2018, Jerome was interested in expanding but was short on cash. He connected with Allies for Community Business for financing and received a $25,000 loan to help build out his newest location. Nine years after opening his first store, Jerome now owns four barbershops and is focused on mentoring his diverse staff and creating a place where anyone can feel comfortable getting a haircut.