By Karen Stokes
Gee’s Clippers has become not only the best place in the city to get a haircut, but a Milwaukee institution.
Gee’s Clippers owner Gaulien Smith (Gee) has reached a milestone, serving the community for 20 years. Friends, family, employees and public officials gathered Sunday afternoon for a “Day of Appreciation” to celebrate Gee’s Clippers’ 20th anniversary.
Smith, 44, opened Gee’s Clippers in 1995 at 4323 W. Fond Du Lac Ave. with four barbers. Now he has a second location at 2215 N.Dr. Martin Luther King Dr. with 30 plus barbers and stylists.
The Day of Appreciation began with a proclamation from Mayor Tom Barrett. “I Mayor Tom Barrett hereby proclaim, today, Sunday June 14, 2015 to be Gee’s Clippers and Hair Design Day throughout the entire city of Milwaukee.”
“What Gee has done in the last 20 years is created a community and always supported the young people and the community,” said Barrett.
The Day of Appreciation took place in the parking lot adjacent to Gee’s Clippers, King Drive location. Music by DJ Homer Blow, food vendors local merchants and spoken word artists with performances by Kwabena Nixon, Cigarette Break and Harvey Scales made the event festive.
The event attracted a number of public officials like Alderman Willie Wade, Alderman Russell Stamper, County Supervisor Khalif Rainey, County Supervisor Supreme Moore Omokunde, and Senator Lena Taylor.
Taylor, who has known Smith for years since he first cut her young son’s hair, had gratitude and praise for her friend.
“I appreciate the work that you do. You are a businessman that gives back, a businessman with a heart,” Taylor said. “I want to thank you for everything you do.”
Though Smith is a barber by trade, he’s most famous for his work in the community, especially among Milwaukee youth.
Smith started the fastest growing Boy Scout Troop in the city and sponsored the Grooming, Growing and Learning Campaign which, on Sunday, awarded three students who composed winning essays and received $500, $750 and $1000 in scholarships.
Taking the stage after being honored, Smith thanked his team of barbers saying, “I couldn’t have done this without the hard work and dedication from an unbelievable team of barbers and stylists I’ve had over the years that just believed in me.
There’s no way Gee’s Clippers would be here today without the barbers.”
In return, Smith’s barbers had a lot to say about him.
“I’ve been a barber of Gee’s Clippers for about three and a half years.
I worked in two other shops before I came to Gee’s and also worked as a supervisor in retail. I wasn’t really feeling what I was doing so I quit both jobs, stepping out on faith and came to Gee’s.
It wasn’t easy getting in but I needed a shop that would not only help me but support and groom me,” said Damone M. Powell, barber at Gee’s Clippers.
Austin Brooks, barber said, “My life was going down a dark path and I got into a little trouble.
A family friend, Antonio Garner, a manager at Gee’s Clippers put in a good word for me to Gee.
Two weeks later, I was enrolled in in MATC’s Barber and Cosmetology Apprenticeship and have been working at Gee’s Clippers ever since.”
“Gee truly desires to push his barbers to be successful and business minded,” said Brooks.
“I have been able to provide a better life for my family.
For that I am thankful.”
Smith gives back to the community and it appears the community appreciates his efforts.
“Gee’s Clippers is not just a barbershop, this is a Milwaukee institution,” said Mayor Barrett