Paramount Barbering Company Isn’t Your Typical Chop Shop

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DES MOINES, Iowa - In the East Village, there's a new barber shop in town - and it's not aiming to be like the others.

"I go by Hair Jordan, and actually a client nicknamed me that," said Jordan Peterson, the owner of Paramount Barbering Co. "And a lot of barbers have nicknames, and it just kind of stuck. Somebody put me in their phone once as Hair Jordan, and I was like, 'I can't believe I didn't think of that!'"

It's one of the things these guys hope sets them apart: they've got code names for their hair-altering alter egos.

"You kind of get a name in barber school, just for fun. It's something that kind of makes you official, in a way," said Paul Huber, a barber at the shop who is better known as 'Pauly Shears.' "I do about, between 13 and 15 per day, five days a week. So, things are really picking up."

These guys say business is picking up because they are slowing down your haircut.

"There's a lot of the fast, chain places, which is unfortunately where men's hair-cutting had started going. You know, just, 'I need a haircut.' And so, I just go into this place for cheap, and they cut it in 15 minutes and I'm out of there," Peterson said. "And people weren't really taking a lot of attention on doing good men's hair, especially at an affordable price."

And a 30-minute cut calls for a cold one - they offer complimentary craft beer from Exile to every customer.

"A lot of the bigger city barber shops I was looking at, they were doing complimentary craft beer," Peterson said. "And a lot of me and my friends' favorites were the Exile - a lot of people like Exile beer. So we got in touch with them when we were opening, and they loved the idea too."

It may seem like more of a salon with appointments and longer sessions - in fact, the barbers at Paramount say they've been criticized for those traits; but make no mistake - these guys take barbering seriously, and are dedicated to seeing the tradition thrive.

"When people say, traditional barbering, that's kind of what I think of" Peterson said. "That kind of connection that kept guys going to their barber until they're 80, you know what I mean? Which is why these barbers don't retire and they get really old, because their clients are their friends, you know?"

Some non-traditional tactics are being used to keep a tradition these guys respect alive. And at around 400 haircuts a week, they think they're doing just that - one hot neck shave at a time.