BEVERLY, MA – In a year where the coronavirus health crisis devastated many small businesses, Eric Cagney found it gave him the push to strike out on his own and take his show on the road.
The Beverly High alumnus worked in barber shops for a decade before the pandemic caused the closure of personal care businesses in March. Yet, rather than wait it out until the state allowed his shop to reopen, Cagney went to work getting the camp he purchased ready to become the Mobicuts mobile barbershop he opened in June.
"I feel like it gave me more motivation to go on my own," Cagney told Patch of the shutdown. "Barbershops weren't open so I had more time to work on it. Then since we were closed it was a lot easier to quit my job not having to go into work, and face my boss, and have that two-hour talk. Overall, it was an opportune time for me."
The 2008 BHS graduate said his main goal is to "bring the barbershop to the client" without having to worry about all the rent and utilities involved with opening a traditional storefront.
He said the mobile unit is more conducive to working during the pandemic because it is only himself and the client in Mobicuts. He said he's been told people feel safer in there than going into a barber shop or salon where you have multiple people working at once.
He said he adheres to all coronavirus-related protocols when it comes to mask-wearing and sanitizing the chair after every cut.
"Its super clean," he said. "We take all the precautions necessary to make people comfortable and we make it convenient for them. It's pretty hard to gather up the whole family to go to the barber shop. But here I can come to them."
Transforming a dirty old camper into a classy and comfy barbershop took some doing. Cagney not only had to put in a chair, he put in new floors, new paint, redid the bathroom, made the sinks business-suitable, installed new granite countertops and added wireless internet capabilities.
"It's pretty hooked up," he determined.
He said he was ready to go in May when the state allowed barbershops and hair salons to reopen, but had to wait another couple of weeks to secure all the proper permits and state inspections.
"It was a really fun project," he said, adding that the work he could not do himself he contracted out to local small businesses.
Cagney said that while there have been quiet days in the appointment business, things are going well overall in his fourth month with plenty of busy days as well.
"This is super easy for everyone," he said, adding that he offers first responder and military discounts. "You go online, book the appointment and put in your address — your business, your kids' (sports) practice, your home, your aunt's house, your uncle's house, wherever."