Linwood Dillard hits the road with Harlem's first mobile barbershop

ByKemberly Richardson Localish logo
Thursday, November 14, 2019
Barber takes clippers to the road in Harlem's first mobile barbershop
With rent for stores skyrocketing in New York City, a man in Harlem found a unique solution to keep his barbershop running.

HARLEM, New York -- With rent for stores skyrocketing in New York City, a man in Harlem found a unique solution to keep his barbershop running...

He put it on wheels!

Linwood Dillard is changing the game when it comes to barbers. The 36-year-old turned a Ford E-350 into Harlem's first mobile barbershop, possibly the first in the city!

Linwood says he never dreamed of being a barber but when he was about 13-years-old and used a razor blade to cut his own hair, things went terribly wrong. His father bought him a set of clippers so he wouldn't make the same mistake.

Dillard practiced on friends but admits he wasn't very good. In mid-2000, he served one year in prison for selling drugs.

"I got good at lining people up with the clippers!" said Dillard. "It was always a fascination to me, but I didn't think I'd ever become a barber."

When he got out, he was having trouble finding a job. It was then that he picked up those clippers and started cutting hair again.

Over the next few years, he bounced from one shop to another and eventually moved to Atlanta, where he perfected his skills.

Related: Kemberly Richardson interviews Harlem Barber with first mobile barbershop

In 2011, he came back to New York City and started working at a shop in the same neighborhood where he grew up, near Lenox Avenue and 128th Street.

When the owner died, Linwood and a friend took over and were very successful. But as the neighborhood changed, so did the rent, jumping from $3,500.00 a month to $8,500.00... the shop closed.

Soon after, Linwood felt defeated but had a lightbulb moment after spotting an Access-A-Ride bus.

"That was the first time in my life that I could say 'I'm starting to do something'," said Dillard.

He bought an old bus for $2,500.00 that was being used for dog grooming. He fixed it up and now spends seven days a week cutting hair on the bus.

"My blood, sweat, and tears have been in this neighborhood - so when I built this bus, I did it for a reason," said Dillard.

He hopes to grow his business and regularly gives back to the community with free haircuts to the homeless and for kids at the beginning of the school year

"I want to leave a legacy of myself behind, where people can say 'I watched him do that himself'," said Dillard.

You can check Linwood out at 350 Lenox Avenue in Harlem, on Facebook and Instagram