GENESEO, Il. (KWQC)- A career in cutting hair wasn’t a choice a first for Greg Ryner. It began when he was serving in the US Navy, after the chief instructed him to give haircuts to the men on board.
“I requested I go to school and he says ‘you don’t need to go to school, you have 350 people to practice on.'”
Ryner decided to join the Navy after high school in 1988. After his service, he worked at multiple barbershops in the area, before deciding to open his own.
“I just thought it was time to move on and start my own shop and I was just really tired of the lack of patriotism around the states and I thought this would be a great way of trying to sort of, push the patriotism feeling and have a tribute for all veterans.”
The Veterans Barbershop opened in May of this year in the oldest commercial building in Geneseo.
“It needed a lot of work, the floor was still the same, but the walls were not painted very well just a lot of other things that I had to do to sort of transform it.”
Since the opening, The Veterans Barbershop has attracted veterans throughout the area. The barbershop is decorated with photos, badges, and memorabilia from war, all of which are donations from Ryner’s customers.
“Seeing some of the soldiers, sailors, marines, air force guys coming in and throwing stories back in the day and then a connection you get, they never knew each other but found out they have a connection through the military.”
Ryner said he has found his passion serving his customers, especially veterans, at the barbershop and hopes to continue to do so for years to come.
“There’s an old saying with barbers, we don’t retire we just die off, so I’ll be doing this until the Lord says it’s time to quit.”