As we continue the barber series we are pleased to write about our first U.S. barber in the series, Braxton’s Barbershop and Shaving Parlor.
In the beautiful State of Utah there is a history of hidden and buried treasures. One legend claims the Aztecs took Montezuma’s gold before Cortes arrived and hid it in Southern Utah. A hidden treasure typically begins with one man and one treasure. Braxton’s Barber Shop and Shaving Parlor located in Salt Lake City, Utah has only one barber and one 1930 Koch barber chair.
The barbershop’s setting is unusual because it is located in the Bonnevillains Speed and Hot Rod Shop in a 15 X 15 foot space. It is not uncommon to look out the barbershop window and witness a classic car undergoing restoration or modification. Not only does 1185 S. 300 West Street produce badass custom cars, choppers and restorations but also some of the finest haircuts in Utah. Braxton Brandenburg began the journey of barbering about 5 years ago and had the opportunity to own a shop in the Bonnevillains Speed Shop. The goal was simple “to bring professionalism and tradition back to Salt Lake,” says Braxton.
Although the shop is fairly new it is old because 95% of the items are true vintage and not replicas. Braxton collected antiques before he became a barber and much of it covers the shop walls. Some of the treasures have been passed down through generations. According to Braxton, if you look carefully “the pictures on the wall are relatives that date back to my great, great, great, great grandparents.” A short list of vintage items include an “1800’s old west Naughty Nellie boot jack, 1930s Glo Dial Ever Ready Neon Clock, General Electric refrigerator, 1930s working Philco radio, porcelain Lucky Lager sign, early century milk can used as a cane and umbrella stand…” You get the idea, right? Braxton says, “everything has been done before so I find influence for my shop outside of barbering and what I grew up around.” The shop is an original because it is a reflection of Braxton a mix of tradition, heritage and simplicity.
The shop operates on an appointment only basis due to size constraints and attention to customer needs. Whether they come in for a haircut or hot towel shave Braxton will make sure there is enough time to produce the best results. The appointments ensure that he will not “be rushed and set a consistent daily schedule and allow equal time with everyone” says Braxton. But don’t feel left out because there is a few chairs in the shop and people are more than welcome to hang out. The clientele is a mix of pilots to plumbers, lawyers to welders and everyone in between. The individuals who come to the shop are friends and customers who will become friends. Braxton describes the shop as a “professional environment with a working class feel” and the people of Utah have spoken and voted him the Best Barber in Salt Lake City. Braxton’s approach to barbering is “take pride in the services here and do my best to make it the best!”
Just when you thought the story was pretty damn good it gets better because Braxton is part of a two man band called the Ugly Valley Boys (watch the video below). The band’s CD is on the Farmageddon Record label and their sound can be described as American Roots music a mix of country, rockabilly, back woods, blues and great story telling lyrics. The voice of guitarist Ryan Eastlyn is earthy and hearty. Being part of UVB allows Braxton to form friendships with many musicians and play at several venues including Viva Las Vegas 15. When bands or Farmageddon family are in the area they stop by to visit the Barber Shop and an impromptu Hootenanny takes place and “it is all for fun” says Braxton.
Amongst all the vintage items in the shop one piece in particular is Braxton’s favorite. It is “an old Old Crow whiskey figurine I got from my friend Danielle from 4 Miles 2 Memphis and Antique Archeology that is probably my favorite, makes me laugh every time I see it!” says Braxton. When I looked at all the pictures of the shop I struggled to find the Old Crow figurine. After closer inspection I found the small figurine on a shelf with larger items. The crow looks extremely dapper with a top hat, walking stick tucked under his wing and a pair of glasses. The crow seems to be a good symbol for Braxton’s shop; original and unique.
The treasure of Braxton’s Barbershop and Shaving Parlor is that it is an original barbershop with an original barber who has not forgotten his heritage. Braxton is undoubtedly inspiring others with his music and barbering craft to create their own paths of originality while bringing tradition and professionalism back to the craft of barbering in Salt Lake City, Utah.
Gentlemen of tradition and distinction should be original regardless of their craft, occupation or profession and heritage should never be abandoned.
Braxton’s on Facebook:
Ugly Valley Boys