By Heide Brandes
Photography provided by Weldon Jack | Photography by Emily Brashier
Legacy is something that is important to Jerrod Smith of Oklahoma City, owner and founder of Weldon Jack Barbershop and Provisions located on Oklahoma City’s Western Avenue.
On one side of the establishment, clients book weeks in advance to get an old-fashioned classic barber treatment, one that takes a full half hour to complete. Attention to detail is a priority as each cut is finished with a straight razor neck shave including hot towel and warm lather.
On the other side of the establishment, patrons can browse the “provisions,” including Weldon Jack all-natural shave cream and soap, aftershave balm, splash, beard oil, shampoo, condition and nearly 20 other in-house products. Additionally they carry custom-designed Weldon Jack vintage-feel t-shirts, hats, shop rags, pint glasses, motorcycle accessories, outdoor products, art and home goods.
The legacy comes from a time when quality mattered, and Smith’s own grandfather Jack Weldon Smith is the inspiration for a shop that will celebrate its three-year anniversary this year.
The name Weldon Jack is a play on Smith’s grandfather’s name to imply “Well Done Jack.” From haircuts to motorcycle helmets to fedoras, Smith wanted to create a store that offers everything “well done.”
In the early ‘50s, Smith’s grandfather Jack was stationed in Iceland through the Air Force, where he served as a barber, mechanic and was also military police. While there, he saved his money to buy a camera and discovered he had a natural eye for astonishing shots.
“My grandfather had a natural eye for photography and had the forethought to document a place and a time that was meaningful to him. Those images fueled the inspiration of Weldon Jack” said Smith. “He was driven by the more and better of life. As his grandson, I saw firsthand that the ‘more and better’ that he wanted wasn’t for himself, but for those that followed after him. That is the birthplace of Weldon Jack.”
That vintage style that reflects quality and legacy is what Smith brought into his shop. Although Weldon Jack makes the designs and the personal care products locally, brands like Biltwell Motorcycle helmets and gear, Frost River canvas and leather bags, New York Hat Co. fedoras and Danner Boots all reflect the quality Smith insists on.
“On the back of all our products, you’ll see a quote that says ‘Well done is better than well said.’ If you can spend your time doing something well, the quality speaks for itself,” Smith said. “This is storytelling through branding. How do you create something that is relatable that inspires the relational and then inject quality service and goods for an experience that is unmatched? It’s something I think about every day.”
Smith founded The Society in the Plaza District that held community art and music events for nearly five years before opening Weldon Jack. After talking to his grandfather about his story, Smith wanted to create something that honored his legacy.
Weldon Jack opened in December 2013 in the old Ronnie Black service station at the corner of Western Ave. and NW 36th Street. Today, Weldon Jack remains booked for weeks with barbers averaging 45 services a day.
“The shop is a nostalgic yet modernized display of a variety of items that entice and intrigue our patrons. You will always see a collection of vintage motorcycles displayed alongside carefully curated legacy goods for sale with displays changing regularly,” said Smith,” This same mentality spills over into our barbershop and shows in everyone one of our meticulous services. “We employ four barbers right now, and combined, they have almost 40 years experience.”
Because of the popularity and demand on the barbershop side, Weldon Jack is expanding to include three more barber chairs and will be taking applications for up to five new hires on their website weldonjack.com. Typically, clients venture into the shop when they drive by and see the motorcycles in the window or by searching for “best barbershop.”
“We feel like having a good bit of curb appeal and a variety of things that are relatable draws people in,” said Smith. “Everyone seems to be really quickly connected. People see the motorcycles and come in to talk about them. Sometimes they see the barbershop, and then end up in the store.”
A Team Effort
Just as Smith’s grandfather created a legacy that resulted in Weldon Jack, so does legacy continue in Weldon Jack’s barbers. Chad Grounds, Michael Arms and Drake Babb all had grandfathers who were also barbers or associated with barbers, and it’s a trade that they take seriously.
“There is no other shop like this,” said Arms. “The way we do things is so unique, and we are all perfectionists.”
Babb said the combined barbershop and retail space sets Weldon Jack apart from other barbershops in the area. He started working at Weldon Jack a few months ago, and does 15 to 20 services a day.
Grounds owned a barber school before joining the ranks of Weldon Jack. With nearly 20 years of experience, Grounds said the shop is one-of-a-kind in the state.
“This is a traditional barbershop, but the retail side adds to it and draws people in,” he said. “What is old is new again, and just like the neighborhood of Western is cool again, so is the old-fashioned, quality cut and shave. People come here for the service they get. We have 30-minute haircuts and each is finished with a straight razor shave on the back of the neck. You don’t find that many places anymore.”
On Father’s Day, June 18, Weldon Jack will celebrate its third anniversary and new expansion with a celebration that includes a vintage motorcycle show, food and drinks, giveaways and haircuts. The public is invited to attend.
“My grandfather passed away two years ago, but he had a full life, and he got to see the shop open,” said Smith. “I want to focus on the big picture. I want to be remembered for continuing legacy and inspiring others to do the same.”
For more information on Weldon Jack or to book an appointment, call 405-241-5660 or visit weldonjack.com.