Peoria-based barber launches mobile business, offers free student haircuts

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For the last 32 years, Al Gordon has been cutting hair for a living.

“I take it as a job, but actually it’s not a job because it’s something I like doing,” he said. “A good haircut makes people feel good and they’ll be able to do what they need to do.”

Years ago, the Peoria native opened up a brick and mortar barbershop. But after a long stretch of construction in the area, he says his customer traffic took a drastic hit. So in January of 2018, Gordon decided to take his work on the road.

Gordon bought and gutted a tiny mobile home that he now calls Al’s Barbershop. It’s now fully equipped with barber seats, razors, TV’s and generator-powered electricity. He makes trips as far as Galesburg and Bloomington for appointments.

But it’s a new set of appointments closer to home, that has Gordon most excited. He’s helping launch the “Look Good, Feel Good Program”.

“Sometimes the kids get picked on at school because they don’t have good, decent hair cuts and their hair be kind of matted and happy or whatever,” said Gordon.

Starting Oct. 1, his newest clients will be the students of Glen Oak Primary School. Two times a week, for two weeks each month, Gordon is offering the students free haircuts.

He said, “Their parents they might not have the money to provide for haircuts, because sometimes haircuts can get expensive.”

Thanks to donations from local churches and schools, Gordon is able to fund the haircuts costing about $10 a piece. All the students have to do is get a permission form signed by their parent.

“They can be like, ‘Man I never had this.’ You know what I’m saying, and in the same sense they’ll sit down, they’ll listen to their teachers, they’ll do better in class and their not distracted by other students behind them making snarkling comments,” he said.

Gordon says he hopes to bring the “Look Good, Feel Good” program to other schools in the area showing what a quick haircut can do for someone’s lifelong outlook.

“For that $10 and that time they sit in my chair then they get a sense of mind like okay, someone is caring about me,” he said.

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