Why are there so many barber shops in KW?

After walking around Waterloo for a while you will notice a lot of variety. There are chains, mom and pop shops and everything in between.

Dozens of restaurants, convenience stores, sporting equipment boutiques, pharmacies, a surprising amount of pot shops and even a place that exclusively sells vegan cookie dough; if you want it, odds are Waterloo can provide it.

After walking for long enough you will eventually make a bizarre discovery. It creeps up on you slowly, you see one here, another there, must just be a coincidence. Oh but how ignorant you are as soon as you see more and more of them, in every strip mall, on every street, wherever one can fit. There are barber shops and hair salons everywhere.

Lets just say that if you want to get your hair done in the Kitchener-Waterloo area, you certainly have some variety. I live on Albert Street for reference.

By my count, google maps reveals around 18 barber shops within walking distance of me.

Perhaps even more horrifyingly, I couldn’t keep count of how many hair places were within a short driving distance of my apartment.

Counting them all is difficult as I realised some locations were beauty salons that didn’t employ any hairstylists.

Additionally, I found that some locations only pop up when one uses specific keywords when searching and it’s possible that some closed locations were accidentally counted.

With that disclaimer out of the way, I discovered that within driving distance there were around an additional 70 hairstylists bringing the total number of hairdressers I could visit to somewhere around an unbelievable 88. I’ve never been one for math, and if anybody can prove me wrong I’d be more thankful than anything, but if we assume I’m correct, 88 barber shops and hair salons is truly a staggering number.

In having conversations with friends in Waterloo, it’s clear to me that there is demand for hair places.

What I’ve found is that most people don’t put a terrible amount of thought into which barber shop to use.

They typically try the one closest to them, and if they don’t like it, they try the next closest one. I go to a barber shop called City Style Salon and Barber Shop.

The service is quite good and all of the barbers wear cool leather aprons while they cut your hair, but the main reason I go there is that it’s a two-minute walk from my building.

With that being said, it’s astonishing how many shops manage to stay open with so much competition. Some may appreciate such an assortment of locations but I remain cautious. Remember, these barbershops have enough blades to supply a small army, who’s to say they won’t?

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