Newbury residents enjoying a short back and B Sides as barbershop and record store look to the future
For those wanting to get back into the groove of things in more ways than one, look no further than B Side Barbers & Records, Newbury’s only independent record and barber shop, writes Cameron Blackshaw.
Set up and managed by local lads Alex Smith, 38, and Paul Cripps, 45, B Side aims to provide a top-quality customer experience with its dual-purpose store concept.
Both men are intense audiophiles with extensive record collections, so they decided to channel their passion into a unique business opportunity.
Mr Cripps said: “It was literally a no-brainer to set up a record shop.
“We both love music and you’ll get that vibe when you come in.”
B Side stock an eclectic selection of different music, with their impressive collection containing brand new pressings, vintage pre-loved albums and rare sought-after gems.
Mr Smith, a professional barber, returned to his hometown in 2018 to set up B Side Barbers after working in Bristol and elsewhere for a number of years.
Originally named after his Spanish Hound Bea, the barber shop was always intended to be a musical affair with turntables constantly spinning while he served customers.
He got in contact with his brother-in-law Mr Cripps, a creative web developer and designer, who set up the record shop at the back of the barbers and the pair opened B Side officially in March 2020.
Mr Cripps added: “The pandemic hit us and it put a bit of a squeeze on things.
“But now we’re back, we’re building up the stock and it’s time to shout about it.”
The pair managed to weather the pandemic storm and are now hoping their supreme haircutting skills and extensive collection of records will attract new customers to their Bartholomew Street store.
B Side Barbers & Records is open Tuesday to Saturday at 63 Bartholomew Street for appointments and walk-ins and the music shop buys and sells all types of vinyl records.