Hair Wonders: Cutting Edge Barbershop & Salon

Owner Roy Alford Jr. has been joined by cousin Darryl Akins, also a barber

Roy Alford Jr., front, and Darryl Akins cut hair at Hair Wonders.

LEE FERINDEN/Special to the Guardian
Published: Wednesday, July 3, 2013 at 1:45 p.m.
Last Modified: Wednesday, July 3, 2013 at 1:45 p.m.

Two cousins in the barbering profession are working together now after discussing the idea for more than two decades.

Roy Alford Jr., owner of Hair Wonders: The Cutting Edge Barbershop & Salon at 4040 SW 13th St., has been joined by his cousin, Darryl Akins, former owner of DJs Barbershop & Salon in Casselberry, just north of Orlando, for 20 years until he sold the business last year. Akins began at Hair Wonders last month after working at Platinum Cutz Barber Shop in the Oaks Mall for eight months.

“I sold my company and moved back to Gainesville to be closer to family and friends,” said Akins, 52. Akins is the oldest grandchild of the late George Young Sr. and Lula Mae Young, founders of the now closed legendary Mom's Kitchen on historic NW 5th Avenue. His mother is Dorothy “Dot” Bailey, who has been a barber at the Reitz Union Barber Shop on the University of Florida campus for more than 30 years.

Akins, a 1984 graduate of Orlando Barber College, is a retired U.S. Marines Corps veteran who retired in 1999 after 25 years of service.

Akins, like Alford, is a multi-cultural barber. He said he does not specialize in one kind of hair cut, but can cut any style for customers, regardless of their cultural background or ethnicity.

“This is a multi-cultural barber shop,” Akins said.

He said Hair Wonders is only minutes away from where he grew up in southeast Gainesville and working there will give him the opportunity to reconnect with people he has not seen in years. He attended Williams Elementary and Lincoln and Howard Bishop middle schools before graduating in 1978 from Buchholz High School.

“I grew up on Southeast 15th Street, so being here allows me to be close to people I grew up with, and that is what I like the most about being at this location,” said Akins, who is also a member of Omega Psi Phi Fraternity Inc., has a bachelor's degree from the University of Hawaii and a master's degree in business administration from Troy University in Troy, Ala.

Just as Akins followed his mother in the barbering business, Alford followed his father and namesake, the late Roy Alford Sr. He is going into the ninth year at his current location, after operating Hair Wonders in downtown Gainesville for more than a decade. Before that, Alford worked side by side with Bailey at the Reitz Union during most of the 1980s, before launching Hair Wonders in 1990.

A 1978 Eastside High School graduate, Alford began his barbering career by working with his father for a few months in 1980 at the former Southside Barber Shop in the Porters community. He said working with another family member now is a dream come true.

“I feel great about this opportunity to work with my cousin,” said Alford, a 1980 graduate of the Florida Barber College and Men's Hairstyling Academy in Jacksonville. “This was the right time to do it, and everything happens in God's time.”

Alford, 53, said the business is also looking for a cosmetologist who is willing to put in the work necessary to be successful.

“We are looking for a cosmetologist who is dependable, serious-minded and dedicated to being on time and responsible,” Alford said. “We are serious about business.”

Hours of operation are 10 a.m.-6 p.m. Tuesday-Friday

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