OWASSO, Okla. — An Owasso business is aiming to create, inspire and bring about a change in mindset, one haircut at a time.
Rico Cole opened Barber Sports Lounge, near East 86th Street North and Highway 169, in 2010.
“This is my gift. I love cutting hair. I say God’s got jokes because, obviously, I’m bald-headed,” said Cole.
“Preachers preacher behind the pulpit, but I do the exact same thing right here,” said Cole. “I actually have the opportunity to touch 20 or more people a day and leave them better off than when they came, so this is perfect for me.”
He said the market was flooded in Tulsa, and he found the perfect spot in Owasso, but the landlord tried to talk him out of signing a five-year lease.
“His words exactly, rest in peace, I love him to death. He said ‘there’s not a lot of you-uns out here’,” said Cole. “Thirty days later, I was here.”
Cole said he went to Walmart, handed out his business cards and introduced himself to people.
Hey, I’m a new barber. I do the straight razor, because one thing that I noticed out here is no barber shops did the straight razor, and that’s what I’m famous for,” said Cole. “That’s what we’re famous for. You come to Barber Sports Lounge, you get the straight razor put on you.”
Cole said all of this was made possible because he bet on himself.
“I knew how to cut hair and I believed in me,” said Cole. “I bet on me. I closed my eyes and swung for the fences.”
Now eleven years later, the shop is busy.
“I think that’s what makes Barber Sports Lounge unique. Me, as a black owner, being successful in a predominantly suburban white neighborhood,” said Cole. “I had to open myself up and be transparent to be able to succeed in this environment.”
Cole, Chris, Mike and Ahmad are family. When you visit Barber Sports Lounge, you’ll hear plenty of trash talk about sports.
“The barbershop isn’t supposed to be stagnated. It’s not supposed to be quiet. It’s a place where a man can come and be a man,” said Cole. “Tell me about your issues. I may have some experience.”
Cole serves on the board of Clary Sage College and said it’s important to give back to the community. Barber Sports Lounge is at most Owasso athletic events, and they work with the Dividing Bread Ministry program, helping individuals after they leave prison.
“We’ll cut their hair and just talk white verbiage, and just try to reacclimate them into society. Whatever Barber Sports Lounge can do.” said Cole. “I believe God gave me a specific gift, and I have to utilize it, so this is my platform. Whenever I get somebody in my chair, I want to leave them better off than how they came.”
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