WYOMING — A family outing, a good cup of coffee and a conversation with a trio of local businesswomen, has prompted a barber to open a new, part-time operation in downtown Wyoming.
In the past couple of months the new barber, Ryle Irish, has slowly been opening up his new business at 601 N. Seventh Street.
The Mayfair Barber Shop at 601 North Seventh Street is currently operating on Wednesdays from noon until 6 p.m.
The 37-year-old barber resides in Peoria with his girlfriend and two daughters, Izzy, 6, and 4-year old Isla.
Irish said it was during a weekend drive to Wyoming with his family that they stopped at One Eleven Coffee and started a conversation with restaurant owners Stacy Unhold, Melissa Nagode and Sheila Rumbold.
“It was after talking to them that I started looking into starting my own business,” said Irish.
A vacant downtown building located across the street from One Eleven Coffee had been the site of another barbershop in past years.
For over 50 years the late Don Graham, a former longtime Wyoming resident had successfully operated a full-time barbershop before he retired.
Irish also works three days a week as a barber at the traditional Shorty’s Cellar Barbershop located in uptown Normal, where they offer haircuts for men, women and children.
The fact that the empty Wyoming site once housed a barbershop was enough of a factor to interest Irish and get him to look into purchasing and eventually buying the building, which also includes what had been another adjoining commercial location along with an upstairs apartment.
When he isn’t busy with customers in the barbershop, the new owner spends time doing remodeling and or restoration work on the building, which was built in 1898.
“It will be on ongoing working project. Eventually I would love to be able to offer the barber shop business open for five to six days a week, extend the hours, and maybe even possibly look for another barber to help,” said Irish.
The barber shop is equipped with an antique barber chair which is inscribed with the identification of Mayfair noted within the chrome footstep.
According to Irish, the barber’s chair was originally used in the famously known Mayfair Hotel, located in St. Louis.
The 1920s chair was used in the 18-story hotel building built in 1924-25, which was designed by architect Preston J. Bradshaw.
The Mayfair Hotel featured a nine-chair barbershop, and a six-booth beauty parlor offered on the main floor in comparison to similar hotels at that time where the services would be located in a basement.
Irish said that throughout the years the luxurious St. Louis hotel become famous for catering to prominent guests such as Cary Grant, Harry Truman, and Lyndon B. Johnson.
It is through the association of the barber chair and Irish’s ownership that he decided to associate his new shop with the related “Mayfair” name.