CEDAR FALLS — As owner Jay the Barber walked around his under-construction shop on College Hill earlier this month, pointing out where the hair-cutting stations and pool table would go, a man knocked at his locked door, asking about the soonest he would be open.

“You have the same crew, right?” the man asked Jay.

After he left, Jay explained he gets that a lot: People remember — and follow — the barbers he hired at the former Five Seasons in downtown Waterloo.

When Five Seasons closed, those barbers followed Jay to a temporary location at Kate and Company in downtown Cedar Falls, and the loyal customers did too.

“If they find somebody, they absolutely love it,” Jay said. As for his crew, he says, “They’ve stuck with me the whole time.”

Now, that loyalty looks to be rewarded on both sides.

The finishing touches — drop ceiling, paint, butcher-block barber stations — are done, and The Finishing Touch Tattoo and Barbershop, at 2125 College St., Suite B, in Cedar Falls, opened last week.

The move puts Jay, six other barbers and three tattoo artists from the former Studio 938 close to the University of Northern Iowa and right in the middle of new construction on College Hill.

It also gives them the freedom to have both barbershop and tattoo parlor in the same location with a lounge area in the middle, complete with a bar, pool table, vending machines, couches and a 75-inch television.

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It was an idea Jay and Studio 938’s Alex Vance had been mulling for about a year. The two had previously both been located next to each other on Sycamore Street in Waterloo, and visited each other’s locations quite often.

“Finally we said, ‘You know what? Let’s make it happen.’ And we started looking at spaces,” Jay said.

Mixing tattoos and hair cuts isn’t a new idea — in downtown Waterloo, K&W Salon and Ink Tattoo opened last year on Lafayette Street.

“The barber world and the tattoo world have a lot in common,” said Vance. “We share a lot of the same clients.”

The College Hill location also proved irresistible, said Vance.

“We feel like College Hill is going to bring a lot more foot traffic into the shop,” he said.

Vance said, though construction headaches had surfaced, he never had any doubts about going into business with Jay. Vance said they hope to open by the middle of this week.

“I’m really happy with how it’s looking — it’s a good layout, the set-up’s great,” he said. “People can come, hang out, relax and have a good time.”

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Staff Writer

Staff writer at The Courier 2005 (college intern), 2007-2012, 2015-present. Graduate of UNI 2006. Three-time Iowa APME award winner (investigative reporting 2008, lifestyle feature 2016, business feature 2018)

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