Alexander Ross, owner of Royal Crown Barbershop on Edinburgh Road, offers no flashy gimmicks, products or catch phrases to draw customers into his new barbershop, just a friendly ear, honest conversation and a traditional shave and haircut.
“Setting yourself apart is kind of hard in the industry but it’s just staying true to who I am and always striving to be better every day,” said Ross. “I know it sounds pretty standard but it’s just about giving the clients what they want.”
He likes to keep things simple.
“I do men’s haircuts, straight razor shaves and that’s it,” he said. “I do straight razor on the head and the face.”
Ross was born in Mississauga in 1987, the second oldest of three boys and one girl. The family moved to Guelph when he was nine months old. He has no claim to royal lineage but his grandmother liked to remind him he was destined for greatness.
“I just got Alexander the Great tattooed on my shoulder because my grandmother named me after him,” he said. “She always called me that.”
Ross developed an early interest in styling hair.
“I started at a young age playing with my little sister’s hair,” said Ross. “It’s funny, looking back I would never have thought then and there that this is where I would be today but, yah, it’s kind of cool.”
He graduated from Our Lady of Lourdes Catholic High School before pursuing a career as a barber.
“I went to hair school in Cambridge at St Louis Academy of Learning,” he said. “It’s a private hairstyling and barbering course.”
He continued to sharpen his skills after school at a variety of barbershops and salons.
“I worked in Kitchener for about five years,” said Ross. “That’s where I started my career. I moved back to Guelph and shuffled around to a few places.”
He and his wife Courtney have two daughters Sophia 5 and Nylah 3 who benefit from having a barber for a father.
“When my kids go off to school or out of the house, anywhere, I try to make sure their hair is looking the best,” said Ross. “I truly believe you benefit if you put a little bit of effort into looking our best. When you look good you do good.”
He saw an opportunity to open his own barbershop when Wayne MacMillan, owner of MacMillan Hairstyling and Barbering, announced his retirement in April. MacMillan had been operating out of the shop at 220 Edinburgh Rd S, since the mid 1960s and built a solid reputation and a long list of loyal clients.
Ross plans to replicate MacMillan’s success and expand on it.
“It’s a great location,” he said. “I feel like I am pretty good with conversation as well and that is a big part of this business – having big ears meaning, listening to what the client wants.”
He hopes to see his Royal Crown Barbershop empire grow to more than one location.
“I mean baby steps, but I would love to open up a second, third and maybe fourth shop,” said Ross. “We’ll see how that goes. Like I said, baby steps but it would be great to open up multiple shops.”He has a grand opening scheduled for May 31 followed by the first official day of business June 1.