Black Barber Opens Harlem’s First Mobile Barbershop

By Rachel George


Gentrification in New York has affected a lot of residents and business owners like Linwood Dillard III. After losing his barbershop in Harlem, Dillard turned a Ford E-350 into Harlem’s first mobile barbershop.

The self-proclaimed “Da Barber Godd” trims beards, does lineups and offers other barber services right from his bus on Lenox Ave. Championed by Harlem greats like Dapper Dan, Dillard’s clientele includes Love & Hip Hop New York’s Jaquae, Iman Shumpert, and more.

Dillard, 36, was a partner at Designs And Linen storefront barbershop on Malcolm X Blvd between 2012-2017 until rent jumped 143%, almost tripling his normal payments. His rent went from $3,500/month to $8,500/month. After the shop closed, he went through periods of homelessness but his entrepreneurial spirit was more powerful than his circumstances.

He saved up and bought a used Access-A-Ride bus, installing cost-effective solar panels, wooden floors, and other features that would appeal to customers. The mobile truck allows him to cut down on cost and regular monthly expenses.

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as I sit and watch my dreams become reality I realize that anything is possible for the last 5 years I have thought of opening a mobile barbershop the idea came to me when my shop closed Designz & lignz due to the regentrification of Harlem and the raise of rent i was hurt I came to a realization that if you don't own the property you don't own the business  I knew I didn't have the money to buy a building shit I was just making ends meet I was in a rocky relationship my finances wasn't shit and my life was in shambles then one day about 2 weeks before we was about to close the shop as I ran around looking for a space to rent in realized that most of Harlem was going up on their price I felt defeated as I walked away access a ride drove by me and like a ton of bricks it hit me MOBILE BARBERSHOP  I didn't how or when I was going to make it happen but I put it in the universe til the point that every bus I seen was taunting me I mean really taunting me saying shit like "you don't want me, you playing game, if you want me come and get me I swear I felt like I was going crazy  after going to two different shops I was tired tired of giving my hard earned money to someone else I started talking talking to anybody that would hear me I was saving money but that wasn't working i had a talk with a couple of my long term client and was told to put together a business plan and that we can talk i started to apply my self i knew I couldn't do a business plan so I found a way to get it done 2 of my clients decided to buy packages off of me verses giving me a loan I sprung into action found a bus had to fix my license after purchasing the bus I didn't have a clue on what I was going to do or how I asked some people to help to no avail they didn't but now as I sit here in my mobile barbershop I have to shed a tear because I worked my ass off for this with my own hands I fixed everything from the floor to the wall to the engine to the power everything and I want to thank all of the people that did help me from the lady from my father's building that bought my chair to the 99 cent store that allowed me to build my dream with their tools to the guy that help me build my bench to my

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Dillard is taking mobile barbershops to the next level by providing other barbers with jobs. He also gives back to the community with free haircuts for the homeless, backpack giveaways, and speaking events. You can donate and help Dillard expand with a second bus here.

Catch his mobile truck at 350 Lenox Ave. in Harlem.

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