On the northwest edge of Milledgeville’s historic district, a barber shop has sat on the corner of W. Montgomery and N. Columbia for several years. The shop, in the same building as the Old Tyme Hot Dogs restaurant, previously serviced exclusively gentlemen in the area, but the location recently re-opened under new ownership and with a new vision.
Nicole Williams opened Family Cuts at 451 W. Montgomery in October. Williams has been doing hair since she was a teenager, and she is excited to share her passion for hair and her expertise with clients in her new business.
Most recently, Williams worked for six years at a large chain salon, serving as assistant manager the last three years. While she has always loved doing hair, she recently realized that she was ready for a fresh start. Luckily for her, she was contacted by the owners of the W. Montgomery location right about this same time, offering to lease the former barber shop space to her.
“This place kind of fell in my lap,” said Williams. “We [Williams and the landlord] set up a meeting, and he let me come try it out.”
Williams felt the time was right to make the leap to having her own salon, and as she says, “I’ve just been going strong ever since.”
Family Cuts recently celebrated its grand opening, and Williams has been hard at work getting the word out about the new business. Her biggest challenge has been letting people know that this shop is no longer a barber shop just for men.
“We serve men, women, kids, all races,” said Williams. “It’s a full family affair. That’s how I chose the name.”
Williams feels her business model is more in line with contemporary trends in the field. Stylists now go to school to learn how to cut hair for all kinds of people and all hair types. As she continues to build up her business, she hopes to attract clients of all ages, from small children, to college students who can walk over from the campuses of Georgia College and Georgia Military College, to retirees.
Haircuts are done by walk-in only. Williams has kept the pricing structure simple and straightforward by offering $11 haircuts across the board. During the recent grand opening, Family Cuts offered a three-day promotion of $8 haircuts. Williams is open to bringing back similar promotions in the future.
In addition to haircuts, Family Cuts also offers shampoos, beard trims and bang trims, as well as line-up cuts around the neck and ears from GMC cadets. These services are available for $5 each.
Family Cuts accepts payment via cash, check, credit and debit card, Cash App and Venmo.
While Williams will consider offering more services as her business grows, right now she is happy to provide quality haircuts to all at an affordable price.
“I specialize in haircuts,” said Williams. “It’s what I love to do. A head is like a canvas to me.”
Williams is joined by fellow stylist Natalie Hogan. Hogan is available on weekdays from 5:00 to 8:00 pm and on Saturdays.
Williams acknowledges that it has been challenging assuring customers who were used to visiting this location in the past that the new salon will have regular, set hours that will be the same each week. Despite the challenges, she is confident that clients who were used to the barber shop will be pleased with the services she and Hogan provide.
When asked what inspired Williams to step out on her own as a salon owner, her answer was simple.
“I love the people.”
Williams explains that for some of her regular clients, the human contact they get at the salon is an important part of their days. She wants to be sure to foster those contacts so they know they can keep coming back to a friendly face.
“They open up to you,” said Williams. “They tell you bits and pieces about their lives. I’ve had clients cry in my chair. I’ve had clients stop in when they were excited about something, just to tell me.”
For Williams, those connections are what keep her going. As the owner of Family Cuts, she intends to give her customers the same boost that they give her.
“I just wanted to open a place where I could give that back,” said Williams.