Wednesday, June 29, 2016

Andreé Rachard Hunt makes the leap to owning his own barbershop

Turning Heads Premiere Barbershop is a family affair.  (Photo by Wiley Henry)
     When Andreé Rachard Hunt reflected on his botched haircut as a child, courtesy of his father, he flashed a smile, and then pointed to a photo of himself – with younger brother Jeremy Hunt and sister Quaneshia Hunt Jones – as evidence. That haircut motivated him to start trimming hair professionally.       
“It was a train wreck when he cut our hair. So I practiced on Jeremy and friends – even on my father – and on people in the military,” said Hunt, 36, who spent four years in the Navy and barbered 12 years before making the leap to owning his own barbershop in the Bartlett community.
Hunt shared the story of his “journey” with family, friends and patrons who showed up by the dozens on June 5 to support him at the grand opening of Turning Heads Premiere Barbershop at 2733 Bartlett Blvd. Six barber chairs await an expected influx.
“Five other people will be working,” said Hunt, a licensed barber who started trimming hair at the age of 15. And he never looked back. “We got room to expand, but we won’t think about that now.”
Andree Rachard Hunt shows his supporters at the grand
opening of Turning Heads Premiere Barbershop an earlier photo
of himself with his brother and sister sporting a haircut that he
called a "train wreck." (Photo by Wiley Henry)
What Hunt did think about was paying the first month’s rent and expanding his clientele. But those thoughts didn’t overshadow the preacher who blessed his business and the guests who encouraged his success.
“Bless Turning Heads,” the Rev. Roosevelt Jackson Jr. prayed. “Let no harm come against it.”
 An uncle, Charles Johnson, who lives in Oxford, Miss., said he would travel the distance to Memphis to get a haircut. “I got to support my nephew,” he said.
Hunt expressed his love for family and acknowledged their tight bond. “I’m elated to have family support,” he said. “My mom, dad, sister and brother support me on this move. I feel bonded and blessed. I’m a humble guy. But I’m even more humble that my family is supporting me.”
“His goal was to own his own barbershop. This was his goal before he went to the Navy and before he went to barber school,” said Gloria Hunt, who scurried to make sure the ambience and the décor were right for the grand opening and that they pleasing to her son before the first guest arrived.
“The family has supported him tremendously,” said Gloria Hunt, acknowledging the support of her daughter, Quaneshia Hunt Jones, 38; Jeremy Hunt, 33; and her ex-husband, James Hunt, who, she pointed out, “has always been active in Andreé’s life.”
James Hunt sauntered throughout the evening, taking in the fanfare and the attention that was heaped upon his son. Nevertheless, he was upbeat and full of vigor when he talked about his son’s foray into the world of business.
“This was a dream of his. It’s a dream come true. I am totally behind him,” said James Hunt, adding that it was a “long haul” to bring the barbershop to fruition. “We try to stick together. It’s totally his business, but I’m here if he needs help.”
Prior to launching his own business, Hunt barbered at A Better Image Beauty & Barbershop on Dexter Road in Cordova for 10 years. Now he’s his own boss. “Some of his clients from the Navy Base followed him to A Better Image…and now they’re following him here,” said Gloria Hunt.
“It’s my first business and I look forward to it,” said Hunt, who married the former Jasmine Benson in March of 2015. They are the parents of three children: Brianna, 9; Aniyah, 8; and Jade, 18 months.
“Barbering is a real career. You can make a lot of money if you do it right,” said Hunt. “It hasn’t hit me yet. But it will when I pay the first month’s rent.”

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