Barbershop Spotlight: The Swag Shop

By Gerard Gauthier, BuzzersBlog

You might have recently spotted Michael Render, better known by his stage name Killer Mike hitting the trails as he gave support to the Bernie campaign. Being politically savvy and having a voice in the community has positioned the Atlanta native to be one of the front persons in the lines of communication between politicians and everyday citizens. The first time I’ve heard of Killer Mike was from Outkasts’ Stankonia album in which he completely bodied his verse on the Grammy-Award winning song “The Whole World”. Killer Mike went on to be featured on Jay-Z’s “Poppin Tags” and Bone Crusher’s “Never Scared”, which at that point I became a fan of his, prompting me to purchase his debut solo album Monster – released 2003. After all these years, one thing I can take away from Killer Mike is that he is all about longevity and diversification.

Browsing the Internet, I came across a video of Killer Mike expressing his admiration for the Barbershop industry. The video takes places about 4 years ago in the city of New Orleans in which he was scouting for real estate space to expand his own barbershop; The Swag Shop. At the very beginning of the video he stated, “Once I became an established rapper, the only thing I ever dreamed about doing was owning a barbershop”.

Render now owns a couple Barbershops in Atlanta, with the newest one located in the State Farm Arena, home of the Atlanta Hawks. The flagship store is located on Edgewood Ave and has been a popular spot for celebrities and people of all kinds to stop by and get their haircut. The Swag Shop is all about delivering the best customer experience and providing a service that leaves the customers with no other choice but to come back.

Part of the customer experience is the layout of the barbershop. Presentation makes for excellent impressions and The Swag Shop does just that. Imagine watching your favorite NBA team play while getting a haircut and politicking with the barbers. “In the stadium, you can come get your haircut, but I don’t want you to leave after the haircut. I want you to stay. I want you to talk; I want you to argue over who’s the greatest ever: Pete Maravich or Dominique Wilkins,” he stated in a 2018 Bizjournal article.

Between the music, politics, community involvement, activism, and business ventures; Killer Mike’s body of work should serve as an inspiration for young people who are trying to establish themselves as entrepreneurs while giving back to their communities. If you are ever in the Atlanta region, I recommend for you to stop by the Swag Shop. When I travel, I usually try to catch a sports game in the city that I land in. When things get back to normal and I fly to Atlanta, I will be sure to get a haircut while watching the Hawks play.

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