Ceon Blair: barber extraordinaire

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Barbershops had a Golden Age” circa the 1880s(?) to the 1940s(?). During this time, barbershops rivalled bars in popularity, and visiting the barbershop was a weekly and sometimes daily habit. Men would stop in, not only for a haircut and a shave, but also to fraternize with friends and have a gyaff (informal conversation), as we say in Guyana.

During this time, barbershops were classy places, often with marble counters and barber chairs that were elaborately carved from oak and walnut, and fitted with fine leather upholstery. Everything from the shaving mugs to the advertising signs were rendered with an artistic flourish.

Multi-talented barbershop owner Ceon Blair is offering Guyanese a chance to experience some of this luxury with ‘De Crib’ barbershop, located at 1205 Gaulding place, South Ruimveldt Park. ‘De Crib’ has an inviting homey ambience that immediately gives visitors a comfy feeling, as if visiting one’s favourite hideout. The soft lighting glistens invitingly off the lacquered surfaces, while trays of candy, luxurious furniture, cable television and other perks invite you to make yourself at home.

One’s attention is immediately drawn to a wooden vintage barber chair. The chair was unveiled for the first time for the Guyana Chronicle. It is something special, as Blair himself created this unique piece. The chair was made to fit with the concept of an antique shop, where the countertops, mirrors, picture frames and all furniture carry a vintage theme.

Not built with hydraulics as in the olden days, the chair features comfortable arm, neck and foot rests. Electrical points are built in the chair, and there are compartments to hold the client’s keys and phone, both to lessen the likelihood of them forgetting those items, and for their convenient retrieval.

Blair points out that he built his chair from scratch, and no exact replica of it can be found on the Internet or anywhere else. The chair is made entirely from local materials: Greenheart, Kabukalli, the local plyboard, and local lacquer. Even the foam used in the soft parts of the chair comes from A.H. & L Kissoon Limited. The chair took him approximately 3 months to complete. As a finishing touch he has personalized it with curlicue letters that spell out his name.

He noted that most barbers would prefer to invest in a chair such as this when they’re working in their own barbershop.

He says his motivation for making the chair was that Guyanese could see the possibilities of what could be manufactured using our local materials. “We’re Guyanese and we’re all creative like the outer world, but you don’t see these kinds of things”.

He wants people to be more creative and artistically inclined. Blair is self-taught, with his skills coming naturally and through practice and reading books. He did carpentry, masonry and plumbing. He also makes luxury beds from the local woods, and took us to see a stunning example. The four-poster bed is made from different hardwoods, including Greenheart, and not “the normal furniture woods”, says Ceon.

Blair has plans to do some charity work, so as to give back to the people. For example, using occasions such as Mother’s Day to visit public places and giving services, such as lining eyebrows, to the women. He also aspires to collaborate with the Ministry of Health to help educate the public about HIV/AIDS, condom usage and gender-based violence.

An impressive part of his business is that Ceon offers smoothies with tantalizing names such as “Jet fuel”, which are as affordably priced as those offered at fast food outlets, yet are made with only wholesome natural ingredients, such as bananas, apples, strawberries, raisins, oatmeal, nuts, whey, and chocolate.

The Guyana Chronicle team tried the “Strawberry Ignite”, and we guarantee that it was filling and delicious.

Blair says visitors from overseas are often surprised that there is a barbershop of this standard in Guyana. Customers can relax on a luxurious couch in an air conditioned atmosphere and look at cable television, or they can play draughts and partake in smoothies and sandwiches’.

Ceon Blair was born in Hopetown, West Coast Berbice, but migrated to Georgetown in 1982 upon completion of school. He worked at the Ministry of Agriculture for a short time, before going on to manage a popular boutique that used to exist on Regent Street. After the boutique was lost in a fire, he began to learn the practical aspects of barbering.

So if you want to get groomed in the most luxurious barbershop atmosphere on these shores, head to ‘De Crib’. Ceon Blair can be reached on 218-3105, 621-8055, or 673-3166.