ST. AUGUSTINE, Fla. – The King’s Chair Barber Club in St. Augustine is back open for business after a fire destroyed it in December. The whole shop had to be gutted and renovated.
The barbers were out of a job and equipment during the holiday season.
“A lot of my stuff was destroyed and had to be replaced; it was a little tough for a bit,” Derrick Hannah, one of the barbers, said.
The last four months have been difficult for the Kings Chair’s owners and employees, and they said if it hadn’t been for fundraising on GoFundMe and local barbershops hiring barbers out of work, this reopening wouldn’t have been possible.
One of the six barbers who work at the shop, Hector Rivera, said he was shocked when he saw the newly renovated space for the first time.
“Words fail me to honestly express how I felt when I walked through the door when I first saw everything; it’s beautiful,” Rivera said.
Hannah along with the other five barbers have all new equipment and workstations, thanks to the more than $9,000 in donations raised on the GoFundMe, and other generous donations from people in the community, clients, and local businesses.
Some barbershops, like Mean Cuts in Hastings, even offered the barbers work.
“I was able to work there and supply for my family,” Rivera said.
“The first couple months I was doing house calls and the last three months I was not even half a mile down the street working at a smaller shop,” Hannah said.
After about $300,000 worth of repairs, the barbers have a bigger workspace, gold chairs instead of silver and the laminate floors are now shiny marble. There’s also a new relaxing space in the back of the shop.
While most of the shop is different, some things still remain, like the barber rules and Hannah and Rivera’s (Philadelphia Eagles) barber capes.
“It reminds me of a time I thought was going to be super tough and I made it through, and we made it to the Super Bowl,” Rivera said.
Another constant is how loyal clients are to the King’s Chair.
“They saw you can’t put Humpty Dumpty back together again, but they did it,” Rivera said.
From ashes to gold, the King’s Chair hopes the new shop will continue to serve the community for years to come.
The St. Augustine Police Department said the fire is still part of an open investigation.
The owner of the building told News4JAX they are increasing the reward from $5,000 to $10,000 for anyone who knows any details about the fire.