On Main Street, there is a barbershop with a sole salon chair surrounded by several antique chairs. The walls are bright white and it looks like a local hangout made for the gentlemen with humorous signs on the wall, a basketball hoop for fun, and coffee available.
Wyatt Gillenwater, the owner of North Main Barbershop, opened his doors in June 2019 as a high school student, but the dream didn’t start there.
“Since first-grade I knew this is what I wanted to do,” Gillenwater said. “My grandpa and dad were both barbers and mom did hair, I grew up in it.”
Gillenwater knew owning a business could be a reality since eighth grade when he found out about the Impact Institute.
“My parents have owned several businesses so I knew I could do it,” Gillenwater said. “Once I knew Impact Institute existed, it was easier. I could get the license I needed while still in high school and come out ahead.”
He completed Impact Institute’s vocational cosmetology program. The Impact Institute program is driven by industry standards to complete vocational training as a dual-credit while in high school. Gillenwater completed 1,500 hours of training during the two-year program in the morning before returning to Churubusco High School to complete his required classes to graduate.
As the local barber, Gillenwater has several regulars already and it is where he sees himself in 20 years.
“In 20 years, I want to have the regulars hanging out. I might even consider adding another salon chair to allow my cousin to come in or maybe even my brother-in-law,” Gillenwater said.
North Main Barbershop, located at 121 North Main Street in Churubusco, offers men’s haircuts with walk-in only appointments. Open Tuesday through Saturday, Gillenwater is ready to cut hair. During Churubusco’s Turtle Days Festival, June 12-15, haircuts are $10.
Gillenwater admits there were some struggles to starting his own business.
“I wasn’t even 18 yet, getting paperwork organized and everything in my name was a challenge at first,” Gillenwater said. “The best advice I ever got was to never give up when the odds are against you, so I didn’t.”
Gillenwater graduated from Churubusco High School on June 7, and is excited about his opportunity.
“Entrepreneurs and small businesses are important for the future growth of Churubusco’s and Whitley County’s economy,” said Jon Myers, President of the Whitley County EDC. “As a community, we should be very proud of this young man and excited about his entrepreneurial spirit.”