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New Scotland Archives The Altamont Enterprise, September 18, 2008
A cut above
By Philippa Stasiuk
VOORHEESVILLEIt used to be that a Voorheesville man needing a haircut had to travel seven miles to reach a barber. Not anymore.
The Men’s Room, a suave but approachable barbershop in downtown Albany, is opening a third store at 34 South Main Street between Refined Designs jewelry and Voorheesville Carpet.
Opening day for the Albany fixture’s suburban foray will be Sept. 20 and William Hotaling, Voorheesville’s deputy mayor, will be cutting the ribbon. Co-owners Jerry Crouch and Ryan Petersen will be offering free cuts to men and boys all day, as well as complimentary doughnuts, pastries, and coffee.
For a man whose barbershop comprises the kitchen stool, his wife, and a pair of blunt shears, the Men’s Room will offer an alternative. It is a place where he can walk in with or without an appointment, help himself to a drink from the fridge, browse a Sports Illustrated (or something, shall we say, a bit racier), talk sports, and get an expert cut in 15 minutes.
It is, as Petersen describes, traditional and low-maintenance.
“At Men’s Room, you can still get a great barber thing, but you can get it on the spot. Guys can come in and get real comfortable. Everyone is joking around, talking about sports. It’s a guys’ hangout.”
Crouch and Petersen’s rendition of the barbershop space is as clean and modern as their cuts. While the traditional barber pole spins outside the shop on Columbia Street, the inside has bright green walls that contrast with the black leather furniture. The till stands behind an imposing glass-covered desk that echoes the business and political clientele of the downtown store. Both master barbers wear suit pants, ties, and dress shoes and not a hair is out of place.
The walls are covered with black and white pictures of Yankee Stadium (both Petersen and Crouch are avid fans) as well as photos of themselves with their more illustrious clients. Albany Mayor Jerry Jennings probably never thought he’d have to share wall space with Weird Al Yankovic and Vanilla Ice.
For Crouch and Petersen, opening their third store in Voorheesville is another business dream come true. The two partners met at Gregory’s, an upscale barbershop in Delmar. Petersen had finished his apprenticeship to become a master barber and already had ideas for the Men’s Room. He approached Crouch about becoming partners.
On top of their natural camaraderie (and the fact that they’ve both been cutting hair since middle school) Petersen wanted Crouch as a business partner because of his work ethic.
“He came in when he was sick and never complained so I figured we’d work well together,” said Petersen. “I’m still waiting for him to give me that thank-you card.”
They opened their Columbia Street store in 2002 and four years later to the day, opened their second location at 99 Washington Ave.
“Me and him have the same goal: to succeed in an industry where we’re trying to do something different,” said Petersen. “We put all our energy into everything we do.”
The Voorheesville Men’s Room store hours will be Tuesday through Friday from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., and Saturdays, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Cuts will cost $13 for both men and children. Other services offered include shaves, and men’s hair color.