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    Meet Edward “Champ” Hall, founder of Champ’s Barber School

    In celebration of Black History Month, Fig is partnering with Tyrone Miller, CEO of Lancaster Works, for a special four-part series as he shines a spotlight on successful Black entrepreneurs in Lancaster by sharing their stories.

     


     

    Tyrone Miller, CEO of Lancaster Works

    Happy Black History Month, Fig readers! I’m Tyrone Miller, the CEO of Lancaster County’s first and only Social Enterprise B Corporation staffing agency, which happens to be Black-owned. I started Lancaster Works to remove barriers to employment by providing our diverse population equitable access to the support and resources required to establish a truly inclusive economy that works for everyone. As I go about my work, I thought about how could I do something to acknowledge the contributions other Black business owners are making to our local economy. My friends at Fig magazine have graciously offered their platform as a way for me to publicly celebrate a few of Lancaster’s courageous Black Entrepreneurs. My heartfelt thanks go out to Fig. With that said, let’s celebrate!


     

    A native of Lancaster, Edward “Champ” Hall’s journey into entrepreneurship began in middle school when Champ began cutting his classmates hair as a seventh-grade student attending Edward Hand Junior High School (now Hazel Jackson Middle School). This happened after a visit to his local barber, when Champ took his haircut displeasure into his own hands. He searched his house for a set of clippers that were rarely used by his father, and his first attempt at cutting his hair was such a success that the next day in school he received compliment after compliment. Everyone wanted to know who this barber was that did such an amazing job. That was just the beginning.

     

    Champ Hall with students

    As he entered his high school years, his mother saw the passion he had for this newfound skill and went in search of ways to support the development of his talent. She discovered a barber school in Harrisburg, Hudson’s Barber and Beauty School. Attending McCaskey High School here in Lancaster presented a bit of a challenge, but with his desire and his mother’s support, he was able to overcome this obstacle. Each day after school, his mother would pick him up and drive him to the train station where he would catch the train to Harrisburg followed by a bus ride to Hudson’s shop on 6th Street. Even with that passion, there were many days he wanted to quit, but through mom’s encouragement, he persevered. He notes one of the most challenging things about that daily commute was trying to do his high school homework on the train.

     

    As the months went by, Champ suffered through sacrificing time on the playground, playing ball, or just hanging out with friends at the Boy’s Club. His daily schedule was school from the moment he got up in the morning until he went to bed at night. His mother would have to give him money to purchase dinner every day as his schedule forced him to miss family mealtime at home. And some days, when he would miss the train and have to wait for the next train, just added to the daily struggle. But finally, he completed barber school, and it was time to take the State Barber Exam.

     

    With the light at the end of the tunnel in sight, he took the exam only to experience the crushing defeat of failing. He felt he had not only failed himself, but his parents as well since they would have to pay for him to retake the exam. His mother believed so strongly in him that she paid and prayed for him as he failed on his second attempt, then his third attempt, and finally meeting with success on his fourth attempt.

     

    He opened his first barber shop shortly after and endured many days where he would sit alone waiting for someone to come in. After failing the test three times and now with a shop with no customers, he was on the verge of giving up. Then, it dawned on him that he had done everything he needed except market his new business. He printed business cards and began handing them out to friends and family, and the business took off. The growth was so quick that he even found himself turning business away.

     

    The proud founder of 10 barber shops, three barber schools, and a beauty salon, Champ now gives that test he failed 30 years ago. Champ’s advice to would-be entrepreneurs is success is not by happenstance—it’s the result of hard work, persistence, risk-taking. and sacrifice. Every successful person has had to overcome adversity, as failure is part of the process. He says don’t let any challenge stop and don’t be afraid of risk because the risk you’re afraid to take could be the risk that leads to your success!

     

    Find out more about Champ’s Barber School at champsbarberschool.com.