COLUMBIA, MS (WDAM) - Licensed barber Steve McGill has been cutting hair for 27 years, opening his own shop in Columbia, MS in 1996 but he decided to close the shop because the bills were getting a little out of hand.
"The bills kept going up," McGill says. "So, I went back to the drawing board and I said "You know what? I'm going to build me a mobile unit."
In September of 2017, McGill started working on building his own mobile barbershop. McGill currently goes to school to Northshore Technical Community College where he is taking classes on architect, blueprint, and building.
With that knowledge of architect, McGill, along with other classmates and his instructor, built a 16 by 7foot mobile barbershop fully equipped with a cutting station, shampoo bowl, hooded dryer, and even a bathroom. The unit is powered by a power inverter generator.
McGill took the idea to Columbia city hall for approval to work in the city but was denied.
"The concerns were pretty much like the parking, your zoning area wherever your located at," say McGill. "You pretty much have to dot the i's and cross the t's. Make sure everything is legit. "
Columbia city attorney Lawrence Hahn says it falls back on outdated zoning laws. He says right now there's nothing in the laws that permits a mobile vendor.
"There are just several things that need to be looked at to see if we can square what he's proposing within what we have and typically we can do a variance to allow somebody some lead way," says Hahn.
Hahn says for McGill to bring the structure into the city he has present the city inspector with the dimensions and specifics of the unit along with a description of how the unit will utilize water and sewage.
If the unit falls within the guidelines of the ordinances, he will be allowed to get a permit. If the shop does not meet the guidelines, he will have to go to the Board of Adjustment where they will notice a public hearing with other business owners and individuals on any concerns such as traffic flow.
The Board of Adjustment will then make a recommendation to the Board of Aldermen to approve or not approve the business with any adjustments.
From there, the Board of Aldermen will make the ultimate decision.
"I just want to keep continuing to cut hair," says McGill. "I've been cutting hair in Columbia about 25 years now."
Right now, McGill is cutting hair from the yard of his house but says despite any downfalls or roadblocks, he will continue to be optimistic and move forward.
McGill's wife Maxine McGill says that she's never had in any doubt in her husband and she sees the shop being a success.
"I knew he could do it," says Maxine. "Anything he put his mind to, he can do it."
McGill says while he still has work to do on his shop, he will take whatever steps he must to cut hair and nothing will hold him back.
He says he wants to be able to cut hair across the Pine Belt.
"I'm going to do it the right way, McGill says. "So, if you tell me no, I'm like "hey, we need to figure this out". Whatever we need to do we're going to do it because I'm going to cut hair. "