Community involvement is heartfelt. It requires a sense of attachment and desirability to better the place we inhabit. So then, how does someone who feels they’re stuck in the wrong time period reconcile their eagerness to be a cornerstone of community engagement?
Despite sharing the same letters, a bar and a barber seem an unlikely pair. But Friday night, the symbiotic duo were thriving. Farrell Stephens, owner of Pomade & Tonic, set up shop in a dimly lit corner of Sidecar’s outdoor patio.
1940s apparel, fingers stacked full of extravagant rings; Stephens stood out like a sore thumb.
November symbolizes the start of the holidays, the spirit of giving, and copious amounts of food. But to Stephens, November is more than that, and its affectionate nickname ‘No-shave November.’
In his words, November is less about “mustaches and beards.” Ordinarily, this would be a conflicting thing for someone who makes his living tending to facial hair to say. But the end of November marks a two-fold opportunity for Stephens.
Firstly, and arguably more importantly to Stephens, it’s the opportunity to give back to the Jacksonville community. Here’s where his pop-up shop comes into play: During a one-day event and for a $10 donation, Stephens provided a clean shave to willing Sidecar patrons. All proceeds, he said, went towards raising awareness about testicular cancer.
“It’s fun, it’s weird,” said Stephens. “They’re at a bar getting a haircut for charity.”
Secondly, Friday night’s event allowed for a self-described old soul to find his place.
“I’m caught out of time. I’m not supposed to be in this era. I don’t fit. Everyone is always in such a rush today, but for me it’s not about the next person or haircut,” said Stephens. “It’s about slowing down, enjoying life and empowering people to take on the world.”
Originally hailing from Louisville, Kentucky, Stephens is a transplant. He’s brought his "northern way of life" to Jacksonville and attributes his work ethic to a long family history of barbers before him.
“To me, a barbershop is a community center where you can help get people involved,” said Stephens. “It’s just the way it is back home. People take care of one another.”
Stephens highlights Jacksonville’s ability to attract community-centric people and serves as a reminder that some make a life out of what they give.