By Pam Wright
Local Journalism Initiative Reporter
There’s more to Blenheim’s Black Comb Barber Shop and Shave Parlour than an ordinary haircut.
The Talbot Street shop offers patrons a unique “gentleman’s experience,” and how they do it is about to be showcased for the world.
The Blenheim business is slated to part of season three of the Global Barber, a reality show that features distinctive barbershops and the communities in which they are located.
Last week, a film crew descended on the Blenheim business to showcase what’s trending in the business of men’s grooming – where vintage and contemporary styles merge.
“This is a great opportunity for us and for the community,” said Black Comb owner Gregory Dennis. “It’s part of the heart of Blenheim and shows the power of the Blenheim. It’s amazing.”
A Shrewsbury resident for the past 13 years, Dennis also owns a second Black Comb barbershop in St. Thomas.
The history of that location – billed as Canada’s oldest continuously operating barbershop dating back to 1913 – is what drew creator Cedric Small to the Black Comb story.
Filming at the Blenheim location was the natural next step, and Black Comb now bears the distinction of being the only company having two episodes filmed in one season of the Global Barber.
“Cedric knew everything about our oldest running barbershop (St. Thomas),” said Steve Van Eldik, business manager for the Black Comb shops.
The 30-minute lifestyle show follows current trends in men’s grooming from around the world. Before the pandemic clipped his travel wings, Small, a St. Catharines resident, travelled throughout the United States and Western Europe featuring a wide array of barbershops along the way.
In Blenheim, the film crew shot four haircuts – two each by both Small and Dennis – for the show. C-K Mayor Darrin Canniff was one of the lucky patrons chosen for a trim.
Ironically, said Van Eldik, Dennis decided to expand into Blenheim as a hobby when the building became available for purchase three years ago.
He never realized how popular it would become. Today, he hopes to expand the business, if he can find the right apprentice to become a master barber under his tutelage.
“We’re looking for a hair stylist or apprentice who is coachable,” Van Eldik said, adding Greg is a “great teacher.”
The Global Barber show’s focus is barbering, but it also aims to connect viewers with the communities each barbershop calls home.
The crew followed Smalls to Erieau, to R.M. Classic Cars, a Rondeau B&B, Retro Suites Hotel, as well as the Red Barn Brewing Company, showing off many of the jewels Chatham-Kent has to offer.
Van Eldik said the local community is unique, especially Blenheim, which he calls “super vibrant.
“It’s almost like Wortley Village in London,” he added.
When the Global Barber segment is ready to air, Black Comb plans on hosting a pre-screening party in Blenheim.
Van Eldik said they hope to hold the event sometime around the new year, adding Black Comb will be asking for food donations for Blenheim’s Word of Life Church for admission.
The St. Thomas shop employs six barbers, with Dennis splitting his time between the two shops. David Van Eldik is the other barber serving in Blenheim.