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SportClips works to bring back the 'dad and son' barbershop experience

Katherine Scoggins • Apr 29, 2013 at 11:50 AM

SportClips began back in 1993 with an idea from founder Gordon Logan, a graduate of the Massachusetts Institution of Technology: He wanted to bring back the "dad and son" experience of a visit to a barbershop, but with some significant improvements. The first was the elimination of chemicals. Stores are clean spaces, with no harsh chemical smells. The second was a philosophy centered around a positive, enjoyable experience for each customer, which has been enhanced through the sports theme.

That philosophy also extends to the staff. Instead of the usual high-heeled stilettos, female members of the staff wear athletic shoes and stand on a sprung floor or gel mats, giving their backs and legs orthopedic support and comfort.

Stepping through the door, one is struck by the extremely clean interiors, punctuated by colorful graphics, a high-definition large screen television most often set on ESPN, shelves holding the latest sports magazines, a bank of windows, and a sleek, contemporary sign-in desk.

SportClips accepts mainly walk-ins and the average wait time is 15 to 20 minutes.

There are several options available, from a basic cut to the "MVP," a precision cut, scalp massage, hot towel and back massage. The store carries high-end products from Paul Mitchell and American Crew.

The "Shower Area" contains massage chairs where a customer can receive a scalp massage and chair massage. The main area features cutting stations with lockers, televisions, and sports-team accessories. The overall effect is one of "a championship haircut experience in a fun, exciting sporting environment."

While many of these services sound rather sophisticated, the younger set also receives attention: booster seats and televisions provide comfort and fun while receiving a haircut.

Local store owner and president Bob Klinker owns the SportClips in Johnson City, as well as the the new store in Kingsport. Originally from Montana, he has a varied business background in healthcare administration, banking, finance, and retail management. He is high energy and his enthusiasm is contagious, especially when talking about the stores, their philosophies and the people he has met over the years.

Community service and outreach are high on his list of priorities and he serves on the boards of Mountain States Health Foundation, Dawn of Hope and the Fellowship of Christian Athletes. SportClips sponsors games and activities through Science Hill, ETSU, the Johnson City Cardinals and Kingsport Mets, and the local Unemployment Office, which also benefits from the business, offering haircuts to those men who are looking for jobs.

"We offered a haircut to a gentleman who was going to a job interview. He got the job and came into the store to tell me how much the haircut had meant to him: it made him look more professional, gave him confidence, and let him know that someone cared about him. To us, it was just a haircut, but it meant so much more to him," Klinker said.

There are currently more than 1,000 SportClips nationwide and in Canada.

In Kingsport, SportClips is located at 1880 North Eastman Road in the Reedy Creek Terrace, behind Starbucks. It is open from 9 a.m. to 8 p.m., Monday through Friday; 9 a.m. to 6 p.m., Saturday; and 1 to 5 p.m., Sunday. Appointments are not required.

For more information, contact SportClips at 423-765-9509.

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