Local barber opens new shop in historic downtown

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Barber Stylist Nancy Avila stands inside her new establishment, One Love Barbershop, located at 16 N. 1st St. in Marshalltown, next to the freshly unveiled mural — painted by Iowa artist Siriaco “Siricasso” Garcia — adorning the south wall. Photo by Nick Baur / T-R
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By Nick Baur, Times-Republican 

Local barber stylist Nancy Avila made waves this past weekend in the historic downtown area of Marshalltown with the grand opening of her new shop, One Love Barbershop.

The grand opening of the new barbershop, located at 16 N. 1st St., was the culmination of a longtime dream for Avila with the new spot finally providing the Marshalltown native a permanent home for her professional skills.

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“I’ve always wanted my own barber shop. You know, being a girl, you don’t see a lot of female barbers,” Avila said, describing the ‘aha moment’ she had once she opened the shop. “It’s here now, and I’m just like, damn, this is me. This is mine. It’s a really good feeling. Ten months ago I was manifesting my own crew — (now) I’m gonna have my own barber shop.”

Yet, as Avila admits, the path to her current situation was not one without bumps and hurdles along the way for the young entrepreneur.

Having been a hairstylist at different salons in and around the Marshalltown area, Avila wanted to be able to cut all types and styles of hair for her diverse clientele.

“I didn’t want to be the person that didn’t know how to do it,” Avila said. “So I took it to another level.”

This pursuit of mastery in her craft led to her enrolling and graduating from barber school, expanding her hairdressing repertoire and adding to her previous education and experience in cosmetology.

However, for Avila, being a woman trying to break into the barbering industry caused initial hardships.

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“At first, it was hard,” Avila said. “Guys would be like, ‘I never had a girl cut my hair. I don’t want to have a girl cutting my hair.’ I got my feelings hurt along the way.”

Despite this, Avila soldiered on, gradually building relationships and bonds with clients who now flock to her.

“I’m glad that was all thrown at me at one point, because that made me who I am,” she said. “As long as they walk out of here, feeling themselves walking out… that’s what makes me take pride in my work.”

Now, with her own place and two other barbers planning to work alongside her, she hopes to create something of an inclusive, easeful environment at the new establishment.

“You walk into a barber shop sometimes, and for a female, it’s kind of uncomfortable being a female walking into a male barber shop,” Avila said. “I want to be okay with my male clientele and okay with the female part, where they feel comfortable bringing the kids in, where girls feel comfortable having their boyfriend walk in.”

So far, it has been all positive for the new business owner since the grand opening, especially considering the outpouring of support she has already received from the community.

“It’s going amazing,” Avila said. “I never expected so much support, and the community, people that came out just to see and to be here, it’s nice.”

One Love Barbershop is open Tuesday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., Wednesday from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., Thursday and Friday from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m., and Saturday from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. For more information and booking details, see One Love Barbershop’s website at www.onelovebarbershop.org/.

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