Our Hairy Life
Heather and Thomas Martin started Jude’s Barbershop in 2005. Heather worked for a company named Success Club, which went out of business (extreme irony) sometime in 1997. This provided the opportunity for her to pursue her dream of becoming a hairstylist so she enrolled in Chic beauty school. After graduating and receiving her license, she was hired by Panopoulos Salons at their East Beltline location.
From 1997 to 2000, Thomas worked for Meijer in their Properties department as an Architectural Engineer. In 1999, Thomas and Heather purchased a Fantastic Sams franchise. At first, Heather didn’t want to leave Panopoulos to work at a Fantastic Sams. But after a few months, she was so badly needed that she reluctantly left Panopoulos to manage their newly franchised salon. About a year later, they severed ties with Fantastic Sams and started Studio 1 Hair & Tanning Salon.
In 2004 Heather became pregnant, and they wanted to find another business to supplement their income so Heather could spend time with their new baby. During a meeting with a shampoo salesman, Thomas learned of several barbershops owned by the salesman’s cousin in the Portland OR area. After several phone calls and a lot of research, they started Jude’s Barbershop in its first location in downtown Grand Rapids which opened in August of 2005. They offered free haircuts during the first week they opened for business.
Thomas and his father share the same middle name; Jude. Both of their backgrounds are in the construction business. With his construction background, Thomas did the build-out for most of the Jude’s Barbershops.
Jude’s Barbershop is truly a family business with Thomas and Heather working behind the scenes. Granny Dee (Tom’s mom) counts the deposits. The Operations Manager is Elle (Tom’s daughter). Jeremiah (Elle’s husband) is the maintenance guy. Accounts payable is handled by Paige (Tom’s daughter). Megan (Tom’s daughter) was instrumental at the begin of Jude’s and provides support from time to time.
Grandpa Jude provided an excellent story for the name; JUDE. He was also the one who told Thomas and Heather not to get into the hair business because, at the time, they didn’t know anything about it.