Imperial Styling's barbershop running strong in smaller digs


John McCallum

Imperial Styling owner Amy King’s remodeled barbershop now provides a cozier setting where customers notice the hometown sports memorabilia

Imperial Styling Salon owner Amy King wants Cheney residents to know that the salon’s barbershop is very much up and running at its long-time location at 424 First St. It’s just been re-arranged a bit, changes King said have already proven successful.

The barbershop was originally located on College Avenue in a storefront now occupied by children’s clothing store Trendy Tots. That location became available when Imperial Style barbershop owner Erricka Ralph returned to school and became part-time at the shop with her sister, Jesse Perryman, who is fulltime.

King said they decided to have her takeover running the barbershop and move it to a new space in the back of the current salon that had previously been the home of Imperial Styling’s foray into the waxing and nails market.

“It was just a glorified office space for the longest time,” she said.

King said the building’s landlords, the Masonic Temple, were “great” in letting the salon out of the final two years of their lease on the former space. Renovation work began in November and the revamped barbershop opened the week before Christmas 2012.

There are several changes; the first being the barbershop has been scaled back from five chairs to two, something King, her staff and many customers like because it creates a more intimate, cozy setting. And there’s also the change in how the shop is managed.

“We use the same Imperial Styling for both shops,” King said. “Before they were separate entities. Now, they’re just one.”

There were also changes to the shop’s sports theme. Where the previous location featured on a variety of teams, the new space has channeled that into a more “hometown” theme with memorabilia from past and present Cheney High School and Eastern Washington University teams.

The shop is festooned with sports stuff. Balls, posters, helmets, hats, mitts, gloves, jerseys, some of it signed, adorn the walls and shelves. There’s a piece of Roos Field red turf, and even a “Savages” brick from a walkway back when the university was Eastern Washington State College and carried a different name. King said past and present coaches and players donated most of the memorabilia, and that many customers say they notice the items more in the smaller location than they did in the larger space.

King said they’ve had very positive responses to the new location and look from customers, with Perryman adding the new location, with an access to the barbershop on College Avenue, is more visible than the previous one a few doors up.

“We’ve gotten new clientele, people who say ‘I didn’t know you were here,’” she said.

Over the 14 years or so the salon has been at First Street, it’s undergone about three expansions and remodels, although King said the current change is more of a downsize. The salon’s clientele has changed too, moving from a focus on college students to one that now includes area families along with EWU faculty and staff.

“Guys will often tell their girlfriend or wife about the shop,” King said. “We get lots of referrals this way.”

Perryman added the barbershop does a lot of children’s hair, with their mom’s booking simultaneous appointments in the salon.

“I think they like getting their hair done while they’re waiting for them,” she said.

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