Frank's Barber Shop - Knoxville, TN

Winner of About.com's 2011 Best American Barbershop!

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Owners: Frank Gambuzza, Belinda Gambuzza, and Adam Brown

Style: American Classic

Takara Belmont Products & Services: Elegance Barber Chairs, Koken Custom Express Plus, Design by Takara Belmont with Frank Gambuzza, Belinda Gambuzza and Adam Brown

Takara Belmont's Regional Sales Manager, Jason DeSantis, worked closely with Frank Gabuzza, Belinda, Gambuzza and Adam Brown, the partner's of the barbershop, to bring their vision to life.

Gambuzza's vision was simple: undersell and over-deliver. Setting up a comfortable atmosphere that delivers a complimentary combination of the two took a coordinated effort from DSsantis and Rick Bennett, proprietor of Knoxville-base Bennett Galleries, who worked closely on this project. Gambuzza states, "Jason and Rick were very open to each other's though processes which made it magical...they took something visionary and made it real."

The team understood that men prefer to leave salon visits to their wives, which is what moved the partners and DeSantis to draw from influences including Ralph Lauren and the American Steakhouse. The intention was to attract men in by offering a barbershop feel, but keep them coming back by providing exceptional service, including pre- and post-cut shampoos, hot towel treatments for their faces and genie massages - at no extra cost to the clients.

While offering these classic services and a nostalgic atmosphere was a priority for the partners, it was only one element of their vision. They also created engaging diversions to entertain clients, including: a pool table, darts, old-fashioned root beer floats, backgammon and periodicals about sports or wine. These added amenities make Frank's Barbershop, as Gambuzza puts it, a "man-cave environment." He adds, "It's a place where fathers can bring their sons, where kids can act like men and men can act like kids."

To enhance both the experience and the aesthetics of the barbershop, the team chose attractive and flexible seating. DeSantis recommended Takara's Elegance Barber Chair because of its durability and timeliness. "While the chair's thick arms enhance comfort, their reclinable backs and leg rests promote flexibility...Jason pointed out that this chair would be perfect for straight-edge blade shaves...our most popular treatment," recalls Gambuzza. The partners chose mocha coverings for the Elegance Barber Chair to complement the shop's palette of wood finishes and furnishings, including Koken cabinetry for wet stations and styling stations, also supplied by Takara Belmont.

Working around the clock, DeSantis and Bennett completed three weeks of work in 36 hours. The project in its entirety took two months. The space, formerly occupied by a corporate enterprise, underwent substantial renovations. After the project was completed, Gambuzza expressed his delight in working with DeSantis, "Jason was more than a designer in this project, he was like my investment partner. He paid attention to every detail and was confident in every decision that he made. Jason was very dedicated."