Peter Beauchamp reflects on five years of owning Okanoggin Barbers Men’s Grooming and Fine Retail with amazement.
It started with two chairs and is now embarking on a fourth renovation — the biggest — where the small business is expanding to offer full men’s clothing and added services.
Beauchamp, who is well-known for his beard and moustache that curls, says community support has been outstanding. He moved to Penticton from Vancouver and now employs 10 people.
“We believe that if you are going to make a living being a small business person in any community, you have to give back to your community,” he says. “Our way of doing that is Beard Fest, which we rotate to different venues. We raised a hell of a lot of money for Discovery House, (a recovery house for men). We also happen to be a community with pretty amazing athletes. We stood behind powerlifters, bodybuilders and our current sponsorship with Jen Annett, a pro triathlete, who is off to the (Ironman) worlds in Kona.”
Okanoggin Barbers earns praise daily for their community work, which includes helping kid sports with gift certificates.
A big part of Okanoggin Barbers success comes from what they provide customers.
“What we’ve done is we have created an environment where men feel comfortable being pampered and by doing that, it’s allowed us to take people who were interested in the industry and give them a place to learn it and further their careers,” says Beauchamp. “We have been able to take people who were struggling in difficult jobs and help them get through barber school and come back and make a living where they can support themselves and their families.”
The barbershop atmosphere plays into it. Beauchamp has heard the men’s club reference and he says his barbershop has become a place where people have grown a comfort level and make new friendships. They also have gained a great degree of confidence.
The experience starts with a greeting by Marshall MacKinnon, who Beauchamp insists no one is better with customer service skills.
“That’s why everybody tries to steal him every week. He gets job offers every week,” says Beauchamp, who describes MacKinnon as “the best front end of the house manager you could ever have. Marshall the man.”
When Beauchamp took over from the previous ownership that operated it for two years, he saw the potential, but it required breaking away from what was previously done. Along with getting a fresh look or shave, Okanoggin Barbers provides quality mens clothes at affordable prices.
“We felt there was a need for men to be able to feel comfortable trying on a pair of pants or a shirt that they could afford,” says Beauchamp.
Beauchamp loves providing the services they do, having fathers and sons come in for shaves. The ultimate compliment he has received is “how comfortable it is” in the barbershop.
“When I’m done doing my spiel, Mi casa e su casa is the last thing I’ll say. It’s basically like you are coming over to a friends house. You happen to get a haircut and a beer and Marshall might sell you a shirt,” said MacKinnon.
Highlights for Beauchamp include having the late David Kampe, a Penticton philanthropist, as a regular weekly client, who was an “honour” to have. Fathers bringing their sons for their first haircut, sharing wedding days with people and watching kids go through their graduation also top his list.
Beauchamp is excited by his biggest expansion project, which is now open. He plans on hosting in-house concerts for 60-80 people.
To book an appointment, call 250-276-3111 or visit them at 254 Ellis St.
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