The clients at Moe’s Barbering and Styling are typically passionate about their neighborhood and supporting local business. In return, the four stylists – including owner Carrie Winters –
are passionate about their work and their location.
“It’s obvious their work is more than a job,” said 19-year-old Zach Byrd, a two-year regular client. “When you go there, you feel like part of something bigger – part of the community. I don’t get that from a chain store, and I can get a great hair cut for a good price.”
Moe’s, named for Winters’ dog, has occupied a plumb piece of real estate at 1904 Main Street in uptown Vancouver since 2004. Set amongst restaurants, coffee shops, antique shops, crafting stores and business offices, Moe’s contributes to the neighborhood's strong local vibe. Inside the shop, local artist exhibits and community event posters crowd the walls and windows, while an eclectic music mix pulses in the background.
Moe’s offers unique service, setting it apart from Uptown’s other higher-end salons. They accept walk-ins as well as appointments, scaling the level of service to keep prices down for those “who want no more than a good haircut.” Cuts range from $10 to $21, with color prices starting at $50. Clients wanting more styling and products have those options.
Winters’ clients are a diverse mix of men and women, children and adults of all ages, with more than 75 percent of customers returning as regulars. As her website says, “Don’t let the word ‘barber’ fool you. We have the skill for all of today’s styles, specializing in both men’s and women’s fashions.” Examples of the shop’s stylishly cut clients can also be seen on their site, www.moesbarbershop.com.
“I prefer the style and the type of people who are drawn to this area,” said Winters. “And my clients really share and appreciate that. It has been a pro to be a part of this area developing, and be included in the sense of community the uptown has established. I don’t think I could have built this business on the east side (of Vancouver).”
Unlike low-cost franchise salons, Winters must bear the typical burdens of a small business owner, from employee health insurance contributions to advertising to juggling staff hours. She has seen businesses fail in uptown, and wondered at first if she had misjudged the up-and-coming growth of the area.
Her patience and planning have paid off with time, and Winters celebrates the sense of personal and team achievement her business brings.
“I have a real sense of accomplishment,” she said. “I did what a lot of people only think about. “
Winters modeled her location and business after her former employer, Rudy’s Barber Shop in Seattle. Rudy’s also has locations in Portland and California.
“I was living in Seattle during the 90's and I saw neighborhoods like the uptown transform over night,” said Winters, who also saw those neighborhoods quickly become too expensive for many long-time residents and small businesses. “I see my location as a place where small businesses can afford to do business.”
Winters moved to Clark County as a teen, and attended high school in Washougal. After leaving here for California, then Seattle, she watched uptown Vancouver change and grow during her visits to family, taking on a more locally-supported urban feel.
Local artist and three-year client Kelly Keigwin’s art decorates Moe’s.
“I met Carrie when she shopped at my (Portland) Saturday Market shop,” she said. “Then one day I was going to Mon Ami Cafe, and saw Moe’s next door. I tried it, and kept going back for the friendliness and ties to local community.”