Clark’s Barbershop. Photo by Renee Umsted.

Russell Clark worked in IT for a long time. It’s the job that helped put his kids through college. But after they graduated, he decided it was time to pursue something more in line with his interests.

“I really enjoy meeting new people,” he says.

Being a barber had never been in his career plan, but Clark enrolled in cosmetology school at Paul Mitchell. Working in salons was OK, he says, but he learned his heart was in barbershops.

When he set out to open his own business, Clark wanted to focus on hot-towel shaves and scissor cuts. He wanted to bring the skills of a cosmetologist into a barbershop, to allow people with longer hair to get a good cut without having to go to a salon.

His first shop, Clark’s Barbershop, opened in 2020 in Lago Vista, Texas, which is about a 35-mile drive from Austin. Situated right on the Colorado River, the town exudes “Texas Chill Country” vibes, Clark says.

That’s the aesthetic he wanted to create in his shop, which looks onto the water. Inside, it’s paneled floor to ceiling with wood planks.

Eventually Clark, who grew up in Garland, found himself visiting Dallas quite a bit. So his brother, Jason — who’s not a barber — suggested he open a location here.

They picked a space in Lower Greenville, partly because of how densely populated the neighborhood is, but also because of East Dallas neighbors.

“It’s just something about the people that choose to live over here. It’s like like-minded people decided to live over here,” Clark says. “I’ve just always been kind of drawn to the people in this neighborhood.”

Clark’s Barbershop sign. Photo by Renee Umsted.

The space at 1908 Greenville Ave. used to be a Mexican restaurant called La Casita. Exterior brick was yellow on the top half, a pinkish color in the middle and blue toward the ground. Now, the whole building is black.

There’s a metal gate in the front that opens to a tiny patio with a (currently not functioning) water fountain built into one of the walls.

Before it was La Casita, the space housed a plumber’s shop, Clark says. Apparently the plumber used to back his van into what’s now the front patio space and load his vehicle with whatever supplies he needed.

Since our neighborhood’s new barbershop just opened a couple weekends ago, the main waiting area isn’t all situated yet, but Clark says he has plans to install a television that people will be able to watch until a chair becomes available.

There’s also a patio in the back, where they’re adding a privacy fence. In the future, they want to adorn it with some outdoor furniture to be used as a second waiting area or for events.

For now, a couple of couches are being used as a temporary sitting area. And beyond it is where the magic happens — four barber chairs can seat customers wanting a shave or a haircut.

To bring the “Texas Chill Country” to Dallas, Clark went all out with the wood panels, this time covering the ceiling in addition to the walls.

“I think it reminds guys of a cabin or something like that,” Clark says.

During the day, they play Gary Clark Jr., blues, acoustic guitar and traditional rock. The focus is on helping customers feel relaxed; $30 will cover a haircut and a place to get away for half an hour or so.

Clark has one barber, Lorenzo Mancha, and he’s looking for more. He splits his time between the Austin and Dallas locations. The Lower Greenville shop is open 10 a.m.-7 p.m. Saturday-Tuesday for the time being.

“We want to be a part of the community,” Clark says. “We want to be a walkable place that you can come to. We want to be a community name.”