Deluxe Business Spotlight: Popular barbershop in East St. Paul gets new look

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Neighborhood barbershops have historically been more than just a place to get a haircut. For many, they serve as a retreat from life’s daily grind—where conversation goes beyond small talk and honest dialogue is not only welcomed but expected. Gentlemen Cuts in East St. Paul is that kind of spot, and owner Terrell Smith understands this first-hand.

After receiving his barber’s license in 2002 and working at various local shops in and around the Twin Cities, Terrell knew he wanted to be his own boss and serve his community in a bigger way. In 2018, he finally made the leap, opening Gentlemen Cuts with his business partner, Papi. “Cutting hair is my passion and our barber shop, for a lot of people, is their second home,” said Terrell. 

Two years in, the shop was buzzing with four additional barbers and a steady flow of clientele. But then came the pandemic, which showed no mercy for businesses that depend on close contact to deliver their service. With appointments and walk-ins nearly drying up, Gentlemen Cuts was barely scraping by. 

Thankfully, after several months of hunkering down, business began to open back up. It was a perfect time to evaluate all aspects of the barbershop, especially with the help of the Small Business Revolution—an Emmy-nominated series by Deluxe, designed to help small businesses overcome marketing, finance, and operational challenges. Gentlemen Cuts was one of six Black-owned businesses selected to be featured in Season 6, and Terrell and team were ready to embrace the advice.

Refreshing the brand

From the beginning, Terrell’s vision of the shop was to provide an elevated experience for his clients. “We wanted this shop to be more upscale,” said Terrell. Naming the business Gentlemen Cuts was a good start, but the original branding left some opportunity to match the look with the shop vibe. 

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Deluxe developed several logo concepts keeping the overall look modern and tailored, but still grounded in masculinity—as Terrell called it, a “Lincoln-esque” style. The designers focused on clean lines, much like the type of haircuts created by the skilled barbers at the shop. Ultimately, Terrell selected a more refined logo design to better match the mood in his shop.

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Attracting new clients online

With the new brand set to go, it was time to build out the Gentlemen Cuts online presence. Two primary goals were identified—to streamline online booking, as well as showcase the energy of the shop and expertise of the barbers. 

The site was built to feel unique from the sea of sameness in the barber industry, featuring a 30-second video to present online visitors an immediate way to feel the shop vibe, as well as the personal 1-1 service that is a hallmark of Gentlemen Cuts.  

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Watch the complete makeover

For those curious to see all the changes made to this beloved barbershop—including a full remodel of the interior and exterior—head to Hulu, Prime Video, or, where Deluxe teams up with community leaders and industry, financial, and tech experts to give Gentlemen Cuts the edge it needs to move forward.

Watch the trailer below: