Old pop bottles, photos of Elvis and antique hair product advertisements line the walls of Vintage Barbershop in Sandy Springs, the brainchild of owner and master barber Yury Abramov.
The four 1950s-era barber chairs in his shop were put into service long before the 32-year-old cut his first head of hair, but Abramov, who moved back to Atlanta from New York to open the shop in 2012, has a flair for the good old days when you could get a shave and a haircut for two bits.
Vintage Barbershop is now celebrating its fifth anniversary in Sandy Springs.
“After five years in business, I think this shop has taught me a lot about hard work and dedication,” Abramov said. “It’s not easy building a business from the ground up, especially at such a young age. I am very thankful to my family and loyal customers for always supporting a small local business and only hope it can grow in the future.”
A Sephardic Jew from Uzbekistan, Abramov moved with his family to New York from the Soviet Union in 1989 before coming to Atlanta in 1999. He honed his skills as a barber in New York from 2006 to 2012 but said it was always his dream to open his own shop.
Abramov’s storefront in the Abernathy Square shopping center has built up a devoted following, and he regularly books appointments up to a week in advance. Clients have a way of being picky about haircuts, and many shop regulars let only Abramov cut their hair.
“I think building a customer base is based on your haircut quality as well as your personal relationships with the clients and making them feel like they are getting the best quality haircut,” he said. “Consistency and availability are key parts of building a client base.”
Everything old is new again, and Abramov said his vintage haircutting style appeals to millennials and baby boomers alike.
To make the shop even friendlier to his youngest clientele, he added an airplane barber’s chair and a shelf full of classic candy, and he brought in two lovebirds, the smallest member of the parrot family, to be the unofficial mascots for the shop.
The two birds, a male and female, recently produced three chicks.
“My family has had birds even back in New York,” Abramov said. “I thought having the birds at the shop would be a great way to distract the kids and make them unafraid of getting a haircut. A lot of adults also love the birds. They already know all their names. It adds character to the shop and goes well with our vintage theme.”
Atlanta has a history of well-known Jewish barbers. For example, Holocaust survivor Eli Sotto cut hair at the Trim Shop in downtown Atlanta for 60 years until the 90-year-old closed his doors in 2014. In 2016, one of Sotto’s barber chairs was placed into an exhibit at the Atlanta History Center featuring stories of people who shaped the city of Atlanta.
Abramov said he is proud to follow in Sotto’s footsteps but also hopes to forge his own path.
Each year to celebrate the Vintage Barbershop’s anniversary in March, Abramov collects donations at the shop and matches whatever amount is raised. Past recipients have included St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta and Atlanta’s Ronald McDonald Houses.
This year’s charity hasn’t been chosen yet, but Abramov is again planning to collect donations at the shop.
“I think giving inspires other to give,” he said. “It’s important to give back to those in need and say thank you for what you have. It makes you appreciate your hard-earned money and feel blessed to have the opportunity to be able to help others.”