May 22, 2013
In the summer of 1936 at the height of the great depression, Joe Loudenslager, a determined young teen, created his own summer job peddling barber supplies in downtown Columbus. With strong will and countless hours, he spent the next year growing his summer job into the full-fledged business, Columbus Barber and Beauty Supply Company (CBBS), at the ripe age of 16.
Loudenslager began to overtake the competition and built his business rapidly, soon establishing a company warehouse, sales department and a delivery service. Loudenslager’s father kept the business moving when Joe left to join the military during World War II. Upon safe return, the Loudenslager men kept the company thriving and eventually passed the reigns to Joe’s daughter Cheryl and her husband Joe Tumblin.
After decades of service in the Short North, this long-standing, family-owned establishment is making a move and bidding farewell to the Arts District. Taken over by Linda Holman and her family from the Tumblin proprietors, Columbus Barber and Beauty supply is temporarily taking their business to River’s Edge Cutlery in Hilliard as they seek their next permanent home.
Originally employing only about five salespeople, CBBS has grown into a full-service salon and barber supply business. The past and present owners attribute most of their success to the area’s harmonious relationship with Columbus Barber & Beauty’s business ethics. “There’s a new circle. Everything that’s old has been new again. People want to embrace the old way of doing things,” said Holman. “There’s a comfort feeling.”
Adding to the success of the business is their emphasis on not just profitable sales, but education on the benefits of the extensive variety of products they carry, and personalized attention to the consumers’ needs. “It’s common for some businesses to just hire a body. We employ old-fashioned ethics and customer service. It’s truly helping people benefit from our products that keeps them coming back every day and we appreciate our customers for that,” Holman states.
The CBBS of today is designed to maintain the flavor and tradition of the original old-fashioned general store while expanding nationwide with the use of an e-commerce Internet shopping experience. The company is now able to service several industries throughout the United States with the help of this experienced sales and leadership team.
And not only does CBBS strive to provide excellent customer service, but it gives back to the community. They participate in the Ohio Barber Board Donation program, which aids former convicts in jump-starting their rehabilitated life post-release through donated grooming supplies for use with their newly acquired skills. The business also is constantly seeking to connect barbers and beauticians looking for employment with the companies that order from CBBS.
The owners are viewing this move as an exciting opportunity for growth and are enthusiastic about strengthening their relationship with River’s Edge Cutlery. Said Holman, “You’re always kind of setting things up for the future. This business has meant a lot to a to of people, and we want to continue meaning.”