When Jason Crampton talks about Lincoln St. Barbers, he doesn’t talk about cutting hair.
He talks about heart, fostering camaraderie and relating to other men — and cutting hair is how he does that.
“Barber shops, to me, are part of that last real sense of community,” Crampton said. “I feel like we hit the nail on the head because guys love coming here — they stop in and hang out even if they’re not getting their hair cut.”
Lincoln St. Barbers is known for straight razor head shaves, precision cuts, beard trims, hot towel straight shaves and “little man” cuts — and a circle of deep leather chairs and bottles of whiskey on a low table make it clear this is a place for those who want to stay a while.
Crampton describes his business as “a true traditional barber shop, a place built for guys” — the kind of space he dreamed of building for years.
He started in the industry more than a decade ago, wanting to become a barber. People steered him away from it, he said, “because women’s hair was where the money was.”
He became a hair stylist instead. Years passed and the dream didn’t die.
“I enjoyed the camaraderie of guys being in my chair, cutting their hair and the conversations we had,” Crampton recalled.
“I noticed over the years that guys were missing that gathering place where they could hang out, take it easy — where we didn’t have to be uncomfortable in salons, tucked away in the corner.”
So he planned to keep doing women’s hair until he was close to retiring, then open that traditional barbershop.
“But as time went on, I just saw the need for it sooner than I was going to be ready to retire, and I was transitioning into guys’ hair and focusing on the barbering world,” Crampton said. “I appreciated the genuineness of barbers. They’re true craftsmen, really detail-oriented.
“Around the time I was longing for that, society was longing for it — I saw it from the older guys that used to go to barbershops, from the guys my age that were wanting that gathering place, even the younger generation were into the nostalgia for it.
“All those things came into play at the same time, and it was time to make it happen.”
Crampton went back to school to get his barber’s license, tackling five hours of night classes at the end of his workdays. He worked in the Ivywild neighborhood while he and his fiancée, Julie Myers, ironed out details and waited to find the perfect place.
“I’m a pretty meticulous guy, so the planning took about a year and a half, then finding the right location and saying no and yes to the right things took another six months,” he said. “We were waiting for the right fit, staying true to who we are.”
Lincoln St. Barbers opened in May in the Lincoln Center in the Old North End neighborhood.
It hasn’t hurt that the past few years have seen a major resurgence in the popularity of groomed beards and the types of traditional styles that make precision cuts and proper fades a must — but Crampton said it wasn’t a factor in his decision-making.
“Because I was the first barber student at the school I went to, I guess was kind of ahead of the curve, but I didn’t want to hop on a trend — I couldn’t care less about that side of it,” he said. “It was just what I wanted to build for my clients, for me and for my [9-year-old] son so he could grow up around a place where high quality guys in this town can come and hang out.
“I think relating to other guys is huge; we definitely learn from each other in here. …I love it because I can relate with other dads and not feel like I’m going crazy — every dad with a 9-year-old’s going through the same thing.
“The guys I’ve had in my chair over the years, we were already a community and we just grew and shifted into a barbershop.”
Crampton, who was born in Durango and moved to the Springs as a kid in the 1980s, has built his team with Springs native Graham Davis and Texan transplant Cameron Houseright. He expects to have two more barbers — one of whom trained at the London School of Barbering — before the end of November.
“For us, the most important thing is personality,” Crampton said.
“We can teach technique — we have a great reputation and we’re serious about maintaining that. But a barber could be the best hair cutter in the world … if they have a terrible personality, they’re not going to work here. Personality and belief systems come first.”
Crampton said building a good reputation over the years and having a solid plan on paper had made it easier to get the new business running smoothly.
“There are always surprises; if you’re prepared, those surprises are speed bumps and not mountains,” he said. “And I’ve definitely got to pay homage to my fiancée — if it wasn’t for her I would’ve walked off the wrong cliff a long time ago.”
Crampton is driven not only to create a community within Lincoln St. Barbers, but to build on his service work in the broader community.
His past projects include partnering with the Downtown YMCA, cutting hair for donations to send underprivileged kids to day camps, volunteering with and supporting the nonprofit UpaDowna, and more recently helping sponsor the Patty Jewett Porchfest.
“We’re serious about community. Now we’re a barber shop as a whole that wants to contribute, not just one barber in a corner of some place trying to make things happen,” Crampton said.
“The thing I love about the Springs is no matter how much it grows, we still have that small-town mentality. We’re good with all newcomers coming in, and we teach them the Colorado way instead of changing to fit the LA way or the East Coast way. Everyone still knows everybody, and there’s still that sense of community.
“We’re excited to be able to do more.”
Location: 2727 N. Cascade Ave., Suite 145
Contact: 719-632-0725, lincolnstbarbers.com