American Gent Barbershop: Shaping gentlemen of Starkville

American Gent Barbershop Owner, Josh Fedrick cuts customer Walker Sayle’s hair at his shop located in the Cotton District. Photo by Logan Kirkland, SDN.
Staff Writer

A loud creak from the front door accompanied by a ringing bell slapping the door alerts there is a new customer.

“You doing alright man?” Owner Josh Fedrick said. “You need a trim? Have a seat.”

For Josh, cutting hair is a family trade. His grandmother and mother cut hair, shaping his influence and love for the craft.

“I had some of the best teachers,” Fedrick said. “It was just one of those things I was just like, why not?”

From Kosciusko, Ms to Columbus and now Starkville, Josh said he’s been cutting hair for about six years. Fedrick has been cutting hair in Starkville for about a year and a half.

“That first year was tough,” Fedrick said.

The name American Gent comes from his dog, Darla, a Boston Terrier. These dogs are called American gentlemen because it looks like they are wearing a tux and they were the first American breed of dog.

Fedrick wants American Gent to embody everyone’s local barber. Visually, Fedrick achieves his goal with antique hair supplies sitting in a glass case, old wooden stadium seats for waiting, walk-in’s and cash only facilitates a rustic and old school aesthetic.

“I want it to be a place that kinda felt like your hometown barber,” Fedrick said. “Man, I just want it to be a place where you feel comfortable.”

Fedrick takes his old school appearance and even practices what he preaches. He doesn’t own a cell phone and only takes walk-ins because most guys “suck at appointments” and he never knows when the store could become busy.

“I hate people who use the phone when they’re doing business,” Fedrick said. “I feel like it’s very unprofessional.”

Fedrick offers cuts, beard trims and a line up. Line ups are when you need to do a quick clean up before a wedding or event but you don’t want to get a full haircut.

Fedrick encourages people in Starkville to come by his shop and check it out for themselves because he wants to offer an experience they can’t get elsewhere.

With a steady flow of college students coming into his shop, Fedrick looks to making each individual visiting from around the country to find familiarity through something as simple as a haircut.

He said his busiest times our during wedding seasons, formals, graduation, Thanksgiving and Christmas break.

“They know if they don’t get one before Christmas mamma and grand daddy are gonna talk some smack,” Fedrick said.

Josh enjoys making clients look dapper, but his favorite part of being a barber are the conversations he has with the people sitting in the room. The conversations, Fedrick said range between sports, drama around town and even relationship advice.

“When you’ve got the right group of guys in here and everybody knows everybody or at least they’re comfortable we are all talking about God knows what,” Fedrick said laughing.

Sometimes, Fedrick said the conversations move even deeper. With the amount of people he talks to in his chair, he said you learn how to respond to certain conversations. Nodding his head, Fedrick agreed it’s almost a sense of therapy.

“The first place they come to is the barbershop,” Fedrick said. “They want somebody familiar to hear them.”

Fedrick used to play music professionally, but he said it wasn’t really feeding him the way he liked it to so he decided to start cutting hair. Fedrick heard there was a building open in the Cotton District, so he made sure to keep his eye on the space.

Fedrick said when you start your own business it’s terrifying and you’re never truly ready, but the opportunity was there so he jumped right in.

One thing he said he loves about being in the Cotton District is the sense of community among the different businesses in the area. Both American Gent and Two Brothers partnered up to where you can put your name on his list and go over to Two Brothers with a buzzer and get 10 percent off at the bar.

“In the Cotton District we all try to support each other as much as possible,” Fedrick said. “I’ve gotten a lot of love since I’ve moved down here.”

American Gent Barbershop is located at 104 Rue Du Grand Formage in the Cotton District.