Nail tech and NTNA alum Cate Widemire’s Willowick, Ohio, barbershop, The Black Comb, combines traditional barbering with nail services — a combination that encourages both male and female clientele to enjoy healthy nail care. The building had housed a barbershop for 45 years before Widemire opened The Black Comb 18 months ago. The idea began when Widemire’s father, who works at a neighboring business, tipped her off that the original barbershop’s owner was retiring. After reading about the shop’s history in the newspaper, she immediately saw a way to achieve her dream of owning a nail salon and keep a local institution alive at the same time. “We hope to keep the haircut streak going,” she says, though nail care isn’t far from her thoughts. “Many men feel uncomfortable going to a salon for nail services, but being located in a barbershop makes them more receptive to treating themselves to a manicure or pedicure.”

Male patrons frequently tell their significant others about her as well, giving her new nail clients who enjoy the salon’s nail art services. The business can even bring couples together: “Some men bring their wife or girlfriend for a nail appointment while they have a haircut and hot shave, giving a whole new perspective to date night!” Widemire says.  

Its unusual setup gives Black Comb a diverse clientele and a family feel, says Widemire. “Clients often tell me they just enjoy the atmosphere and conversation, and most of my nail clients love the entertainment coming from the barbering side of the shop,” she says. “Some guys will ‘cross the line’ and help the ladies pick their nail polish color, and in return the ladies will compliment their fresh haircut, making them feel great.”

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