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  • Writer's pictureSBDC @ JCC

Meet Shannon Ryan of Westfield's Custom Cuts

After ten years in the barbering profession, Shannon Ryan has opened Custom Cuts in Westfield, New York. When asked recently how her business is surviving COVID, Shannon replied that she is doing well but the struggles are still real, however, she has worked so hard for her business, she won’t let anything derail her. In fact, despite losing summer business from visitors that never made it to Chautauqua Institution, she is buoyed by an increasing number of local clients.

When Shannon says she has overcome a lot to establish her own shop, she isn’t kidding. She has survived cancer and deafness (cochlear implants). When she approached the SBDC in 2017 she had been renting booth space and was looking for help to secure a location that would allow her to business to survive and thrive moving forward.

Beth Reed, Senior Advisor at the Small Business Development Center in Jamestown, helped Shannon explore various location options. A mobile barbering idea was dismissed as untenable in New York State. A cash flow analysis determined that a land purchase and property renovation was not economically feasible. Finally, Shannon was interested in purchasing the business of a barber that had been unable to offer services for several months due to unforeseen circumstances. The proposed seller wanted to rent the shop space and sell Shannon the business. Beth offered valuation and negotiation advice, suggesting that Shannon offer to only rent the facility and not pay a premium for a shuttered business.

Ultimately, Shannon negotiated a rental agreement with the shop owner, renovated the space to her liking and acquired needed equipment – avoiding a “business” purchase. With help from family, personal sweat and cash equity, Shannon opened her doors in 2019. Project financing included a $2,395 grant from ACCESS-VR. Shannon has secured her future in a community that is happy she did.

Shannon shares, “Beth Reed provided me with valuable business advice, helped me develop a solid business plan, and has offered her friendship along the way”.



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