Congratulations are in order!
Shaun “Lucky” Corbett just became the first African American to own a barbershop in Walmart, the Charlotte Agenda reports.
It all started in 2005 when Corbett decided that he wanted his future to be brighter than his rough upbringing. He enrolled in the No Grease barber school, a $10,000 admissions fee which he saved up by working in a barbershop during the day and serving slices of pizza at night every weekend.
By 2006, he was working as a full time barber and by 2010, he had opened his first barbershop, Da Lucky Spot in Charlotte. But the Brooklyn native wanted to make his shop more than just a barbershop, he wanted to give back and help the community to avoid the pitfalls he experienced as a young child growing up in New York City. He began handing out turkeys to families in need during the holiday season, giving book bags to children headed back to school, coats to those trying to keep warm in the winter months and eventually started after school tutoring programs in the shop for students.
Da Lucky Spot became a fixture in the neighborhood, as did Corbett. In 2014, Corbett began devising a program to strengthen relationships between communities of color and the police. An opportunity presented itself when Corbett was contacted by Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department (CMPD) detective Garry McFadden asking Corbett to serve as a liaison between the department and the community to facilitate conversations. Thus, Corbett’s program Cops and Barbers was born.
Lucky, as Corbett is fondly called by community members, began to work as the glue between CMPD and Charlotte residents in the Sugaw Creek neighborhood where his shop was located. Eventually, his work afforded him an opportunity from The Obama administration to come to the White House and share his program with groups from other cities. Cops and Barbers became a national model of reframing community policing and Corbett was able to utilize the program to send aspiring youth through barber school.
Photo Courtesy of Da Lucky Spot Barber Shop/Facebook
His community work eventually caught the attention of Michelle Belaire, the senior director of community relations for Walmart. Belaire flew in from Arkansas to speak to Corbett but he was hesitant. “To me she was just another suit that comes for a photo op and disappears when it’s time to do the work,” he said. But Belaire was committed and her and Corbett eventually stayed in communication for months before she invited him to a corporate meeting in Arkansas to meet with execs about how to maintain community relations. That’s when Corbett asked Belaire what he needed to do to get his barbershop in Walmart. She told him that it was possible but it wouldn’t be easy.
When Belaire saw a vacancy at a Walmart in Charlotte, she notified Corbett who sprang into action. He jumped through hurdles trying to make his dream happen. The retail giant had never had an in store tenant that wasn’t affiliated with a chain before. But Corbett persisted and before he knew it, he had the lease agreement in hand.
At the opening of his shop, the entire city came out to celebrate, including Charlotte’s Mayor Vi Lyles and Belaire. Walmart presented Corbett with a $25,000 check which he said is going towards Cops and Barbers, to put more young people through barber school.
Photo Courtesy of The Charlotte Agenda
Kate Mora, the Regional General Manager for Walmart in North Carolina told Spectrum News, “We’re excited to support the great work Shaun and his team are doing here in Charlotte by having them become a part of our in-store Walmart family. We hope the increased exposure and customer traffic of being in a local Walmart store will help them spread their message, mission and impact even further across the city.”
Corbett also expressed his excitement about the new location saying, “We’re living in a time where the community needs something to call their own. Lucky Spot Barbershop represents hope, determination, new beginnings and opportunity for those that have been told that they cannot do something. We are excited to be a part of such a game and life changing opportunity,” he said.
Congratulations Mr. Corbett! We look forward to seeing Lucky Spot Barbershops across the country soon!
Photo Courtesy of Charlotte Agenda