When Westfield resident Dainia Oren received a phone call from her brother-in-law early one Sunday morning raving about the place where he'd just gotten his haircut, she became curious.
Kennedy's All-American Barber Club in Connecticut, her husband's brother explained, offered more than just your traditional haircut or shave, it was a place where men could relax, enjoy a complimentary beverage and be among friends.
With more than a decade of experience in the business world, Oren said she had been looking to open a franchise that featured a unique concept but felt she had previously missed the boat on other opportunities. What her brother-in-law described piqued her interest.
The following weekend, Oren and her husband Marc took a ride to Connecticut, home to six Kennedy's, to see the upscale barber shop for themselves. Happy with both the haircut Marc received as well as the overall experience, Oren decided Kennedy's style was a cut above the rest.
Early this fall, Oren looks forward to opening the first of three Kennedy's franchises at 226 North Avenue in Westfield. She is considering Millburn, Chatham, Madison or Warren for the shop's other locations.
"It's been a lot of fun," said Oren, who has been working at the Connecticut franchises on weekends to learn the ropes. "A lot of dads and their sons come in. We really like the idea of the club aspect."
While walk-ins are welcome, Kennedy's offers memberships, which come at different prices levels and feature a variety of privileges, including unlimited haircuts each month for clients and their children, scheduled or standing appointments, as well as use of the club's conference room with WiFi, billiard table and coffee bar.
Members can also keep shaving accessories or spirits, such as Scotch or their favorite beer, in a locker located toward the back of the club.
Much larger inside than it appears from the street, Oren has also been busy preparing the space for its autumn opening. The shop will couple modern amenities with old world charm. While the reception area will boast a tin ceiling, the rest of the shop will feature vaulted ceilings with wood beams and brick to create a rich, warm feeling.
"There are TVs built into the mirrors and they turn back into mirrors when they're not being used," Oren explained.
The new business owner is also pleased with the location, which is directly across from the train station and just steps away from the bus stop.
"It's ideal for those on their way to or from work," she said.
Oren is also in the process of interviewing master barbers—those with five years of experience or more.
"We're looking for really skilled barbers," she said. "That's another thing that sets Kennedy's apart."
As per Kennedy's website, in addition to haircuts and shaves, gentlemen can also enjoy:
- Gent’s Wax (ears and nose — don’t knock it, until you’ve tried it)
- Hair Color Maintenance
- Gent’s Mini-Facial
- Beard & Moustache Trim
Once the business is up and running, Oren said she hopes to partner with other local merchants such as wine shops, tailors and men's clothiers to host member events.
While most Kennedy's are open 10 a.m. to 8 p.m., Oren said she wants to set the hours based on the needs of her customers.
"If we find that the men want to come in on a Monday night for a haircut and stay to watch Monday night football, then we'll stay open until until 10 or 11 or whenever that ends. We want to listen to them and accommodate their needs," she said.
To learn more about Kennedy's, visit the website.