Ron’s Barbershop at 6058 W. North Avenue in the Austin community is more than just a place that cuts hair. It’s a meeting place, a spot to network and regular neighborhood hangout for positive activities. Owner Ron Gibson has been a barber for 19 years. His shop specializes in afros, twists, fades and razor linings. On a weekend afternoon, Gibson briefly put down his clippers to talk a little about himself and his business.

Are you are native Chicagoan?

“Yes I am – West Side, born and raised.”

Did you always want to be a barber?

“Yes. My mother was a stylist for 35 years, so I was always in the shop. My mother just retired last year.”

What is your family status?

“I am married and have three children.”

When not at your shop, what are your interest?

“I’m at home with my family. Sports interest is shooting pool, and I’m in a pool tournament every year.”

How long have you been at this location?

“April 15 will be one year. We previously was in Oak Park.”

What are your future plans?

“Right now, we have 1545-square feet. We have a partnership with Lovett Elementary School down the street (6333 W. Bloomingdale). Number one; we have a chess tournament for the kids teaching them how to play and give them first, second and third prizes. Number two; we want our shop to sponsor a GED program for somebody in the neighborhood. I think that is what a barbershop should do. And three; every year we do a thing called “Father’s Day Picnic” and what we do is feed the community. Last year we fed over 500 people, and we do this every year, giving prizes to the kids, and this is a very good thing.”

What about the discussion group you have at the shop?

It is called the Café Society and sponsored by The Illinois Humanities Council. Every week they do seven locations in and around the city. All of them are inside café’s with the exception of two: one is inside The Dusable Museum and the other is inside Ron’s Barbershop. So we’re kind of fortunate and lucky to have them. From 5 p.m. to 6 p.m., we have discussions as it relates to us as a people, us as a nation and us as a family. So we change the topic every week and people have a chance to given their opinion-much like Street Beat. The last Friday of this month, Feb. 27, there will be a radio station taping here at the shop.”