By Janet Stoica
This is not your usual article about a new shop in town – it’s a story about perseverance, faith, and loyalty.
When Keith Paquin opened his newly refurbished style and shave establishment in Oxford last month, out of necessity due to job loss, he literally furnished, built, and supplied it on a wing and a prayer. To say his relatives and friends came through for him would be an understatement.
It was a few weeks before the December holidays when Keith, a barber by trade, found himself unemployed. He found a good location for a barber shop at 2 Fairlawn Avenue in Oxford, but then began to doubt if he had the gusto to finish what he had started. He shouldn’t have worried – not only did his followers and pals come through for him, the results were the stuff of dreams.
When he needed workstation tabletops, his good friend Andy was there. He cut down a pine tree in his yard and another buddy milled the wood, with nice-looking results.
When Keith needed waiting room furniture, Kris Geer, his next-door neighbor who runs the local tattoo shop, came through. Kris’s relative was refurbishing a hotel and he told Keith that all he had to do was pick up the furniture they were replacing if he wanted it. Keith rented a truck and returned with lots of gently-used sofas and chairs. He kept a few pieces for his shop and then donated the rest to local needy families.
Did Keith need any extra paint asked Jimmy Annese? You know it.The results can now be seen on the newly-painted walls at Keith’s Styles and Shaves.
Another friend offered him a flat-screen TV as they were replacing theirs and that TV is now part of his waiting area amenities along with a children’s corner complete with a pint-sized table and chairs and kids’ books.
“I just cannot thank the countless others who helped me bring my new place to its ultimate finish,” said Keith. “My biggest thanks go out to my clients who stayed with me through my whole ordeal. That’s what kept me going. That was their biggest role. I also have to say that I owe a big, big thanks to my Aunt Karen and my nephew Philip Hamm. Aunt Karen helped me so very much financially and Phil couldn’t have been a better help. And I cannot forget my wife Marlene; she’s awesome. She kept my spirit going.”
Keith has been tailoring people’s hair for quite a while. It all started when he was laid off from a job years ago. When he visited his local unemployment office to look for work, he saw an article about a barbering school. The unemployment clerk told Keith not to bother with this type of vocation. But going with his gut, Keith applied for and was accepted at the school and he hasn’t looked back.
In Webster, he established Clippin’ Tymes, owned and operated it for 10 years, then sold it. He went back to barbering school as an instructor and has worked in a few local places since then but now he’s back to managing his own shop. His cool new barber pole spins in the window. He’s happy to be again doing what he loves, and he is so very grateful for his family and friends.
“Don’t ever discourage anyone from educating themselves,” says Keith. “I’m an example of that.”
Keith is also looking for a female or male barber to add to his staff.
His shop gives discounts to EMTs, Police, Fire, and Military personnel, as well as senior citizens. It’s a family barbershop that also offers hot towel shaves, hot towel facials for men and women, up-and-coming styles, scalp treatments, and colors. Keith assures us he’s a Master Barber with flat tops.
Hours are Tues/Wed/Fri 9 a.m. – 6 p.m.; Thursday 10 a.m. – 7 p.m.; and Saturday 9 a.m. – 4 p.m. Walk-ins are welcome
Keith’s Styles and Shaves is at 2 Fairlawn Avenue in Oxford, phone (508) 731-6149.