In an update, Mob Town Proper & Vintage, the retro hair salon concept originated by business partners Nick Dimario and “Panini” Pete Blohme, recently held a soft opening for their new 1,000-square-foot space tucked away inside their 85-year-old, 3,600-square-foot headquarters at 119 S. Ann Street, located near the Griffith Service Station in Mobile.
Originally intended to open late February or early March, plans were disrupted by the onset of nationwide shutdowns of industries deemed “non-essential” at the time to curtail the spread of COVID-19.
Additionally, due to exacting guidelines found in Mobile County for licensed barbers to snip, shave, trim and apply tonics (among other treatments), the partners adroitly slashed through local red tape by pivoting from their “men’s only” hipster, retro concept to offering services for both men and women inside the new space.
“To open a barbershop in Mobile, with qualified staff, we needed to have a licensed master barber working on site at all times that had attended an approved program with a minimum of two years of experience. We weren’t initially aware of the full regulations required in Mobile, although it was mentioned in passing by barbers in Baldwin County,” Blohme, who lives in Fairhope, said.
According to barber-license.com, the Alabama Department of Labor reported there were 700 licensed barbers in Alabama as of 2010. The licensing process involves successfully completing a formal barber program or apprenticeship, applying for initial registration in the state and passing.
In 2013, Alabama became the very last state in the country to enact comprehensive barber licensing requirements. Before that time, only five counties statewide licensed barbers through their own barber boards, including Mobile. Their requirements, in many cases, were more rigorous than regulations eventually put in place by the state.
Barbers who practice in Mobile County must have a Mobile County Barber Commission’s license. To be eligible to apply for the licensure examination, the commissioner requires students graduate from a certified program approved by the county. Licenses from outside the area aren’t recognized.
To date, Mob Town employs one certified cosmetologist with plans in place to hire more as customer demand dictates.
“We have four stations available to add more stylists, but are not in a hurry. Hours of operation are Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. to 6 p.m.,” Blohme said.
Additionally, ideas for a vintage store anticipated to open in the 800-square-foot middle bay space next door have now morphed into plans for a coffee shop that will instead sell vintage retail merchandise for patrons.
“We still want to have bourbon tastings during the year, cross-promotional offers set up within the restaurant chain and extended hours on the second Friday of every month to coordinate with LoDa ArtWalk. We’re glad to finally be able to open and welcome new customers,” Blohme said.
BUSINESS MOVES, TRANSACTIONS
Fairfield by Marriott recently announced completing renovations to its site located at 950-A W. Interstate 65 Service Road S. in Mobile. Upgrades inside the building involved a full refresh of the following spaces: reception desks, lobby, breakfast area, fitness center and all 80 guest rooms.
“This renovation has completely transformed our hotel. Fairfield now offers travelers a hotel that is essentially brand new,” General Manager Todd Hagerty said. Although subject to current COVID-19 social distancing restrictions, the hotel still offers guest amenities that include free breakfast, Wi-Fi, 24-hour business center, fitness center and indoor pool.
Fairfield by Marriott sits along a row of established hotels in close proximity to each other along the Beltline between Airport Boulevard and Cottage Hill Road. It is near several restaurants and retail centers and has quick access to the interstate. The property is owned by Edgewater and operated by MMI Hotel Group
Josh Hall with NAI Mobile reported some 1,700 square feet of retail space located at 200 St. Joseph Street in downtown Mobile is expected to open in November as the home of a new smoothie shop called Ole Mobile Nutrition.
The new business is a spinoff for the owners of Saraland-based Spartan Nutrition, an Herbalife reseller, and the site will offer drive-thru pickup and sit-down services, according to Hall.
BAD AXE THROWING FEARS COLLAPSE
Burlington, Ontario-based Bad Axe Throwing, a North American chain of some 40 axe-throwing bars established in 2014 to capitalize on what Forbes hailed two years ago as a “growing trend across the country,” is now in danger of collapse from COVID-19.
The news resonates locally ever since a Bad Axe bar opened last fall inside the Eastern Shore Centre in Spanish Fort to positive press and robust patronage prior to shut down from the worldwide pandemic.
“I wanted to address something that we strongly believe would be of interest to the local community in Spanish Fort,” Bad Axe President and CEO Mario Zelaya said in a news release.
“We’ve noticed that with the spike in COVID-19 cases, our sales have dropped drastically. We’re seeing, at most, 15 to 20 percent of pre-COVID revenue right now. With the recent spike in infections, that number is trending downward.”
He went on to say the company has recently laid off more than 250 people and has postponed plans indefinitely to open up 30 more locations in the next two years.
Zelaya, who is also the founder of the World Axe Throwing League, a governing body for the sport, went on to make a plea for more patronage of his company’s locations.
“Currently, our revenues are below our expenses, making the possibility of survival very unlikely. We’ve received PPP funding for our business, but that was designed for the closures,” he said. “Unlike restaurants that could still operate with take out or patio service, we were forced to have zero revenue. If there’s no further support to the entertainment industry, this includes us, bowling alleys, movie theatres and bars, we all face extinction”
Bad Axe is currently open for bookings and appointments and reportedly has several safety measures in place, including 12-foot private lanes for groups for social distancing as well as providing masks for customers. More information about the company can be found on social media or at badaxethrowing.com.
This page is available to subscribers. Click here to sign in or get access.
It looks like you are opening this page from the Facebook App. This article needs to be opened in the browser.
iOS: Tap the three dots in the top right, then tap on "Open in Safari".
Android: Tap the Settings icon (it looks like three horizontal lines), then tap App Settings, then toggle the "Open links externally" setting to On (it should turn from gray to blue).