Mario and Elizabeth Ashmore, owners of Ash & Ash Classic Barbershop in Princeton, represent a true inspiration for those seeking to accomplish the American Dream. With their new barber shop and hair styling business in town, the Ashmores are building their foundation on the principles of family, faith, and hard work.
Mario Ashmore stated that he “grew up in the projects,” and began his haircutting “entrepreneurship” at a young age. His mother cut his hair when he was a youngster, and though he wanted to give it a try, his family was hesitant to give him the shears.
“My mom and cousin never let me cut their hair,” Mario laughed. “But, my friend’s older brother did, and my mom punished me for it.”
Mario said that the first time he cut hair, he completely “butchered” it, but continued to practice on others anyway.
“I butchered so many peoples’ hair when I was a kid. I cut my friends’ hair, my brother’s hair, my uncles’ hair; basically anyone who let me touch their hair, I ruined it,” Mario said humorously. He also conveyed that his neighborhood and community was supportive of him, and despite giving many rough haircuts, he always had someone’s hair to practice on.
When Mario was in high school, he realized he was developing a real skill at cutting hair, and went from a “kid who gave free bad haircuts” to a “young man who charged $5.00” for what was becoming an evolving talent.
Throughout high school, Mario wanted to pursue a career in law enforcement and become a police officer. However, with his talent developing and his childhood interest becoming a real passion, he decided to pursue his gift and attended Rob Roy Academy’s Hair School. Soon after, he began building his business and brand.
Beginning in Worcester, Mario worked as a barber next to a Caribbean-themed restaurant, where a young woman worked for her mother. Mario stated that he was “interested” in this woman, and he “told his friends that he was already dating her” before he had even asked her out. He eventually struck up the courage to ask the woman out, and now Mario and Elizabeth Ashmore have been married for 21 years.
“I grew up learning about business and being surrounded by it, so it was something that has always been nurtured,” Elizabeth Ashmore stated. The experience of working in her mother’s restaurant not only gained Elizabeth her partner in life, but in business as well.
Before the recent grand opening of Ash & Ash Classic Barbershop in Princeton, Mario operated a mobile business that is still currently widely successful for events, such as weddings, and is based in the Fitchburg area.
Now, with a “brick and mortar” location in Princeton, Mario and Elizabeth stated that they both feel “at home.”
“Princeton is a place that we love and enjoy,” Elizabeth stated. “After raising my children in Ashby, driving here is like driving home with the scenery, community, and natural landscape.”
Mario mentioned that Elizabeth came up with the name “Ash & Ash” as an abbreviation of their last name, and that it “felt right” when the couple found the Princeton location. Now, with the right location, name, and “feeling,” the Ashmores are looking to build a very particular and inclusive brand that benefits everyone.
“We want to present a different approach to barbering,” Mario stated. “We want everyone to feel welcome and we want to encourage conversation and good vibes.”
Mario also stated that he will never be the type of barbershop that “blasts loud music or plays television” while cutting hair. Soft music is always playing in the background, neutral colors adorn the walls, and a backdrop of Princeton’s green and natural landscape is visible through the shop’s windows.
“We want this to be a good, quality experience,” Elizabeth stated. “When you enter these doors, we want you to be relaxed and to enjoy yourself.”
Mario also stated that as a “family establishment,” Ash & Ash Classic Barbershop is a business that treats “all types of hair from all different ethnicities,” and that each person’s haircut or hairstyle will be catered to an individual’s hair type and preference.
“A diverse clientele is what we aim for here,” Mario stated. “We cater to all hair types from all cultures.”
Mario stated that he is also experienced in cutting children’s hair, including young kids who aren’t necessarily thrilled to sit still in a chair and get a trim.
“Kids can feel what you’re giving off, so we really emphasize our relaxed vibe with them and we make it work,” Mario stated.
In addition to Mario and Elizabeth, their daughter, DeJanee, is quite the hair artist herself and clearly exemplifies her father’s talent with hair. DeJanee has her own room in her parents’ business, and is quite gifted in all things hair- from fashion colors, to curls, from dreadlocks to new, stylish cuts.
“I love working with my family because I feel like I’m appreciated and like I can develop as an artist myself,” DeJanee shared. “I have the freedom to be creative and I love learning about new techniques and hair types.”
DeJanee went to Toni & Guy Hairdressing Academy and like her father, is skilled in working with all types of hair, clients, and new ideas.
Ash & Ash Classic Barbershop formally opened in Princeton on August 7th, 2022 and is located at 206 Worcester Road in Princeton, MA. It is located on the second floor of the building, with signs directing customers to the suite. Appointments and inquiries can be made by calling (978) 464-6020. The business offers a wide range of services, such as hot towel shaving, custom facials, razor bump treatments, and a variety of hairstyling, coloring, and barbering options. Ash & Ash Classic Barbershop tends to all clients, including men, women, and children, and is equipped to handle all hair types and needs.
When you walk into Ash & Ash Classic Barbershop, the first thing you will notice is its family-friendly environment, the pride that the Ashmores take in their work, and the way they take care of their customers. The relaxing vibe, good conversation, and immaculate neatness of the shop is immediately noticeable, and the family-built business and environment makes Ash & Ash Classic Barbershop the perfect addition to Princeton’s welcoming and nostalgic community.