“A Barbershop for the Community Not just in the Community!” Photograph: Raphael Anderson
Two Men who defeated all odds and are taking it back to the community from which they came.
Published: Feb. 3rd 2021
James Bryant grew up in Live Oak, Florida, graduating from Suwannee High School. After graduating, James went in the national guard, later signing up for active duty. He served from 1994-2005 as a 92G (Food Service Specialist). During his time in the Army, James worked for General George Higgins in Korea, which led him to be able to meet President Clinton in Kosovo. After completing his term in the Army, he continued to work in the food service industry as a General Manager.
Kevin Smith co-owner went from a military brat to a military solider. He moved to Live Oak, Florida in 1987, also graduating from Suwannee High School. Upon graduating, Kevin went on to serve 7 years in the United States Army. Kevin’s greatest accomplishment, is his wife of 23years and his beautiful children. Together these two gentlemen decided to embark on a journey, that would make them two successful black men in the community of Oak Live, Florida
What was the key driving force to becoming an entrepreneur?
The key driving force was the idea of ownership. Being an inspiration to young black males and showing our children, that it is possible to achieve your goals and dreams through hard work and preparation.
Where did the idea derive from?
The idea started in the year of 2000. Due to both of our military careers and being stationed in different states, we were unable to implement the ideas of our business until the year 2006. In 2006, we birth our first barbershop “Precision Kutz and Styles" in Montgomery, Alabama. From there, a second location was opened on the eastside of Montgomery, Alabama. In 2019, we
decided that we wanted to help rebuild our community in Live Oak, Florida. And that’s where "KJ’s Kutz and Styles" came into play.
How would you highlight your company’s competitive advantages? What makes it stand out from the rest?
We recently changed the name "KJ’s Kutz and Styles" to "KJ’s Kutz and Lounge". We believe, what gives us a competitive edge, is that we are able to provide more than one service. We offer top-notch haircuts, great quality food at affordable prices, car wash services as well as event bookings. Therefore, providing a one stop shop.
James Bryant AND Kevin Smith
Tell Us about your journey to ownership?
Our journey to ownership has been nothing short of a long journey. Throughout the process, we have had our bumps and bruises. Yet, we persevered and didn’t allow nothing to stop us. We continued to keep god first and we’ve also learned that a loss is not a loss but a lesson.
Do you believe there is a winning formula for becoming a successful entrepreneur?
Definitely! Discipline and leadership are two things that we are accustomed to, due to our military background. We take several practices that we learned, while in the military and applied them to our everyday business practices.
Our success isn’t defined by financial or monetary gains. Our success will be defined by the impact that we are able to make on our community. We hope to be a beacon of light and a place for refuge in the community, providing service for our youth and elderly. Our motto is something we hold near and dear to our hearts. “A Barbershop for the Community NOT just in the Community!”
There you have it! Two military veterans destined to make their community great again. Opening a barbershop/lounge, that would draw the attention to many. Making it a place away from home, to not only feel comfortable but to feel at home. A place that has many services to fit the need of many who desire it. Rooted and integrity, for their community. Both men transformed their ideas into reality making Live Oak, Florida proud. Y0u can find out more about "KJ’s Kutz and Styles" by following them on the social media Icons above.