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people of downtown: junior adusei of junior’s barbershop & school

This month we had the honour of interviewing Junior Adusei, owner and operator of Junior’s Barbershop and School.

Junior Adusei was born and raised in Toronto, Ontario before moving to the United States where he spent the majority of his early adulthood in Queens, New York.

Junior decided to make the move back to Canada in 2008, but this time, to the west coast. “Since I moved to Vancouver from NYC in 2008, my growth has been above my wildest dreams,” he says.

Junior began his career as a single-chaired barber setting up shop in downtown Vancouver’s streetwear and sneaker store, Dipt Kicks. In 2012, Junior decided to leave his solo-gig and establish his own business, Junior’s Barbershop, in the downtown catchment. “Downtown Vancouver was the best opportunity at the time as there were only a few barbershops that solely did fades,” says Junior. The heavy foot traffic outside of the shop’s prime location at 918 Davie Street brought in a lot of businesses for Junior, especially walk-ins.

Junior’s Barbershop is a New York 90s-inspired shop where Junior believes he “removed a small piece of NYC and dropped it in the middle of downtown Vancouver.” Customers receive exceptional service, which keeps them coming back. “Our goal is not just to give you a great haircut, but also to focus on your experience that earns your loyalty,” he says.

Junior runs on a very busy schedule. Whether it be cutting hair in his shop, working on a movie set, or teaching his barber school students, there is no stopping him. With that said, Junior does enjoy the perks of running his own business. “I enjoy the flexibility of making my own hours. Having employees lighten the workload allows me to focus more on the business side of things- banks, other organizations, and investors,” he says. Since opening his downtown Vancouver location, Junior has had the opportunity to expand his business to Burnaby and the ability to franchise a third location on the Surrey-Langley border.

“COVID has affected our business in a few different ways,” says Junior. The pandemic took a toll on shop revenue due to reduced staff as a response to social distancing and COVID guidelines. This then resulted in the closure of their Burnaby location. “It no longer made sense to keep financially,” he says. Junior also had to increase shop prices for his customers to accommodate the added cost of buying cleaning supplies, PPE, and much more. Luckily, Junior’s was able to acquire a government loan, which helped the business stay afloat.

Despite the negative impacts the pandemic had on the barbershop, Junior is looking forward to the positive change ahead. “We are enthusiastic to be furthering our relationship with the film industry by making our barbershop classes available to their hair department,” exclaims Junior. In addition, Junior explains that “there is something new happening with Junior’s Barbershop and School in 2022- you’ll have to wait and see!” Junior expresses his sincerest gratitude to all of his barbers, clients, and the downtown Vancouver community for making his business a success.

You can find Junior’s Barbershop at 918 Davie Street. Visit them online and follow them on Instagram!

Junior’s Barbershop is now offering 3A Massage, located in their J-Wing. Book here!