How one Peoria businessman is putting a new twist on an old school craft

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PEORIA, Ill. — For Ryan Cullen, every morning starts with smiles, his shears and a lot of style. 

Cullen transformed his love for looks into a career opportunity inspired by his girlfriend: Barber school.

“I just absolutely fell in love with the craft and then from there,” Cullen said. “It just kind of snowballed.”

And fast. Three months after going to school, he was offered this space for his own barbershop. Cut and shaves with a mix of man cave, and all his.

Launching Cullen’s Classic Barbershop in 2015 was all new territory for Ryan. And as a one man barber and businessman, he’s had to learn to navigate the hurdles of entrepreneurship.

“I’d like to say an old school Americana, kind of a classic feel, almost salooney,” he said. 

Sometimes customers even add to the unique decor.

“So items that have been sitting in a drawer for 30-40 years that you know their parents, their grandparents have passed down to them, they want it to go to at least a good home where people will look at it and actually enjoy it and appreciate it,” Cullen said. 

And while there’s a host of barbers to choose from in central Illinois, Ryan said there’s no shortage of customer love to go around.

“There’s more than enough heads and beards in Peoria that everybody should be fruitful and be very busy cutting heads and putting hair on the floor.”

“I just love what I do and I think that expresses through my work,” he said. 

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