A new modern barbershop, Tough Guy Haircuts, debuted this Monday on McFarland Boulevard in Northport, right beside Bryant Bank – and the owner says she looks to offer something very different to the Tuscaloosa area.

Owner and operator Alicia Harwell didn't always see herself in the cosmetology field – she got her start in insurance sales in Mississippi for over 10 years, until two and a half years ago when one of her daughters came to her with the desire to specifically cut men's hair. Together, they launched Tough Guys Haircuts in Mississippi as a modernized barbershop that specializes in men's haircuts.

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"We'll do anybody's hair; we just cater to guys," Harwell said. "There are so many places that do women's hair, but not very many that do men's, other than the classic barbershops. You know, most college kids or young boys don't always want to go to that. And so we tried to make it modern, where you just walk in, get your hair cut, and that's that."

While Harwell's daughter moved on from cosmetology, she and her other daughter continued to build the business in Mississippi by adding a shop in May – now with two shops in Starkville and Columbus, with the signature feature of offering a complimentary beer to each customer (who is of legal drinking age, of course) after a successful haircut.

Later this summer, Harwell was looking to expand and reached out to her partner Adam Phelps to go in on a new location together, this time in Mississippi's next-door neighbor. Phelps said they chose Tuscaloosa not just because Harwell had family here, but primarily because they had already seen a lot of success in a college town like Starkville, and wanted to see if the same rang true for Tuscaloosa.

In just their first week of opening, Harwell commented on the overwhelmingly positive reception by the community.

Although Tough Guys takes the place of a former salon, Phelps said the store had several major renovations done, including removing walls, redoing the floor, and changing the entire color scheme in an effort to make the place feel much more open. Harwell was pleased to report that the inside design already fits within the state's COVID-19 guidelines for proper social distancing as well, so patrons do not need to worry about getting the coronavirus while they get a haricut.

(Photo Courtesy of Tough Guys Haircuts, Facebook)

Tough Guys offers men's haircuts for $21, but for an additional $5, customers can also get a scalp massage and shampoo with a hot towel to finish. Women's haircuts are also available for $30. While Tuscaloosa business codes prevent Tough Guys from offering free beverages to customers, Harwell hopes that they can stand apart in other ways by offering a 'Heroes Discount' to military and first responders.

The shop is open Monday through Saturday from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Harwell aims to get a website with appointment scheduling up by next week but says in the meantime, customers can schedule an appointment by contacting Tough Guys on Facebook or by calling 205-860-5176.