William Oraha – 15 in 2015

// Owner, The Art of Men’s Cuts // 2 years in Saline County

It may be 2015, but the idea of kicking things “old school” is still an approach that has merit at The Art of Men’s Cuts in Bryant. This isn’t your run of the mill barbershop, and when chatting with owner William Oraha, you get an understanding of where his approach originated.

“A real barbershop is always connected to the community no matter what,” he said. “We hold events like car shows ad car washes, anything that can draw the community in.”

But the motivation behind those events isn’t to highlight a premiere spot for a cut and a shave. For Oraha and his team of barbers, it’s about giving back to those in need.

“Any donations we can generate (during events) will always go to help those who need it for food, clothing, whatever. We donate the money to local charities that get them to people that need it in Saline County.”

It’s a philosophy the 35-year-old learned while cutting his teeth as a barber in Los Angeles.

“I worked at a shop called Rudy’s of Glendale. It had been around for 50 years, and it’s a tradition that was instilled in all of us. It’s about being good to people, genuinely trying to help. That’s what we’re supposed to do.

“At the end of the day, all of our barbers are about helping someone else,” he added. “If someone has been laid off from a job, we’ll give them a cut at no charge because that’s the last thing they need to worry about. They know they can come back and pay for it when things straighten out.”

The barbers are also always looking out for job prospects for customers. If someone comes in needing a job or maybe looking to make a career change, the guys will put out the word to other clients.

“Everyone is always looking out for someone else,” he said “It’s not about just making dollar.”

Adding to that sense community and family is also an approach Oraha and his staff takes during times of loss. “Whenever someone passes away at our barbershop, the barber pole is blacked out,” he said.  “We go to the service. If there’s not a service, we’ll have a wake at the shop. “The reason is to show resect for the family and to let everyone know we lost a part of our family.”

Arriving in Saline County from Southern California, Oraha admits his initial hopes for success were low. “I figured I’d open the shop and just sit here by myself because no one would show.” What he got instead far exceeded those expectations.

“I’ve got four barbers who work right alongside me. We have an atmosphere that’s fun, and sure, we have a good time. But we’re here to keep it fun, humble and honest. We don’t get carried away with the success we’ve had.”