Popular barbershop proves it is a cut above
January 5, 2022
A high-end barbershop has opened its second city centre store in the North East, after being impressed by the cut of the city's jib.
The Keep, based on Durham's historic Saddler Street, has officially opened its newest store in Sunderland city centre, in the heart of the city's up and coming Sunniside Quarter.
Completely renovating a former retail outlet, the new store is just a stone's throw from the iconic Mackie's Corner, which has been lovingly transformed into a hub of independent businesses over recent years, as well as the award-winning SB International Barbering Academy.
Since opening the doors to its Durham store in 2019, The Keep has proven a huge hit, filling all of its barbering chairs and attracting customers from across the region, as well as a host of footballers and influencers who often feature on their various social media channels.
This newest store will see a further six chairs added to its roster and will help the independent business, led by North East entrepreneurs Damon Rogers, Kyle Thomson and Edward Donaldson expand its footprint in the region and attract new customers.
Edward, manager of the Sunderland store, said: "We looked at other locations in the region, but the Sunderland site was by far the most attractive proposition.
"The Durham store has grown incredibly since opening its doors two years ago, despite the pandemic, and this is more or less down to the unique concept we've brought to the region which, in my eyes, is completely unrivalled.
"Our barbers are all expert professionals who deliver the highest possible service, yet we work in the most relaxed and friendly of environments. As well as being greeted by friendly staff, we have chilled music playing throughout the day and a fridge of beers to really take the edge off.
"We've also invested in technology to further enhance the customer experience and ensure we're doing all we can to make The Keep experience as unique as possible. Using the Booksy booking system, our customers can book appointments in their own time using an easy-to-use digital platform.
"We know that, for many of our customers, time is precious, and they don't want to waste time booking appointments and queuing. They want the process to be as easy as possible and our Booksy system allows them to do just that."
Edward and the team were attracted to Sunderland due to the ongoing regeneration across the city centre and the arrival of independent businesses such as Master Debonair at Mackie's Corner, the success of SB Barbering Academy and its huge student population.
He added: "We knew the location next to Mackie's Corner and Master Debonair was perfect as soon as we saw it. Our Durham store has attracted a lot of customers from Sunderland since it opened, including a number of players from Sunderland AFC, so it seemed as though all of the signs were pointing towards the city.
"The regeneration of Riverside Sunderland is set to create thousands of jobs; there's the new footbridge being built connecting Sheepfolds and the Riverside site and there's the scores of independent businesses which have relocated to the city through developments such as Mackie's Corner and the High Street West heritage redevelopment.
"Add to that the fact that the city has very few professional, high-end barber shops and the fact that we're literally across the road from SB Barbering Academy, which trains budding barbers from across the globe, and the stars just seemed to align, and we're delighted to be here."
The Keep was supported in its move to the city by Sunderland City Council. Cllr Graeme Miller, leader of Sunderland City Council, said: "The pandemic has been hugely challenging for the high street and to see so many successful independent businesses continuing to invest in the city centre is fantastic.
"Not only does it show the confidence people have in the high street's resurgence, but it also shows how much confidence people have in the city of Sunderland, which is undergoing a transformation the scale of which has been unseen for generations, and we're delighted to have Edward and the team from The Keep join us on this journey."
For more information on Sunderland as a city to do business, visit: https://www.mysunderland.co.uk/business-and-investment or follow @InvestSundUK.