A cut above. From left, Mitch Wood and Eric Barnhart of Fifth Street Barbershop in Columbus Park want to help their clients choose the right look for them. Joe Jarosz

By Joe Jarosz
Northeast News
October 15, 2014

KANSAS CITY, Missouri – Eric Barnhart has big plans for his barber shop.

Even though Fifth Street Barbershop, located in Columbus Park at 913 E. Fifth St., is less than a year old, Barnhart had been thinking of opening the shop for years.

So his list of ideas on where to take it next is long and well thought out.

“I’ve waited a long time to have a men’s grooming place so I want to keep adding on,” Barnhart said. “I want a haberdashery with a social club mix.”

He explained that he’s starting to team up more with small, local businesses such as the Local Pig or The North End, for a referral network. Mitch Wood, who works for Barnhart at the shop, said they want to be the hub for men’s culture.

“If you need a place to get shoes, clothes, an oil change or a good restaurant for a date, it’s our responsibility to keep our ears to the ground to be able to help those who come in,” Wood said.

The shop isn’t just going to expand its network, either. The two-room barber shop has plans to grow beyond the confines of its current look, as well. Barnhart said eventually, he’d like to be able to knock some walls down, extend back and add lounge chairs, a pool table and a couple pinball machines, as well as showcase a few options of different style suits, “to give guys an idea what’s hot this season.”

“I’ve been waiting on the male grooming movement to take off,” Barnhart said. “I thought about opening the barber shop about five years ago, but that would’ve been too early. So I’m glad I waited until now.”

Although this is his first barber shop, he also owns Groom Salon in North Kansas City. Barnhart, a second generation barber whose been in the industry for 25 years now, selected the Columbus Park location because of its ties to his family. And because his parents gave back to the community, he’s hoping to do the same.

“I’m down for guys that have been struggling, trying to find a job and might need a haircut that can help get that job,” Barnhart said. “I’ll give it to you. I want to be a part of the community. I gotta give back. My parents gave a lot to the community and I want to carry that torch but want to do it my way.”

The duo also want to show that they’re more than just the basic barber shop. Barnhart said he calls the shop a different breed of barber because they’re deep in their traditions but still try to instill a modern approach, as well.

“For us, its about taking something that seems very basic as a service but taking pride in what we do as a craft and art form,” Wood said. “We don’t give haircuts, we make them. We individualize them and are serious about what we do as barbers. It’s more than just the craft, because we’re building relationships with people in our chairs and giving them a place to relax and feel comfortable.”

Wood said the shop’s full-service haircuts include a hot towel shave and a massage. But, more importantly, each customer gets consultation, “which we take seriously, to help guys figure out what kind of haircut and style they want.”

“The process and experience is a lot difference than any other place in town,” Wood said.

“It’s a barber shop but we’re just trying to give it a fresh approach,” Barnhart said.

Fifth Street Barbershop is open from 10 a.m. – 4 p.m. Tuesday – Saturday and welcome walk-ins or appointments. Barnhart said they can also be flexible with their hours if an appointment is made.