No Grease! – The Barber Shop That Gives Back

June 7, 2023

No Grease! is “not your ordinary barbershop.” They celebrated a milestone anniversary last year with the statement: “25 years of developing people, families & community; and it all starts with a haircut.” Nowhere is this more evident than in the No Grease! Barber School.  

No Grease! Barber School students Elijah Johnson, Zaire Perkins, Jaffy Tewold, and Carlton Travis volunteer their time and talents at two of Roof Above’s permanent supportive housing locations twice a month. They visit the tenants at Moore Place the first Wednesday of the month, with a visit to SECU The Rise on Clanton on the third Wednesday of the month.  

There are practical reasons to volunteer as all students must complete many hours of training and pass a state board test to be a barber. Volunteering at Roof Above allows them to practice and sharpen their craft. But these four gentleman show up every month for deeper reasons too. Carlton enjoys making people smile. Zaire’s careful, thoughtful work puts tenants at ease. Elijah appreciates being able to give back, and Jaffy knows how much a haircut can mean to someone. 

Haircuts can be expensive, and it can be difficult to navigate making and keeping an appointment, especially for people with limited incomes. Having the opportunity to receive a great haircut at no cost is a gift. Tenants patiently wait for their turn in one of these soon-to-be barber’s chairs, and they walk out with confident smiles.  

The students offer 20 spots for tenants to receive haircuts. Tenants can request the style  of their choice. When asked how they manage to provide so many haircuts and beard trims in two hours, Carlton Travis says, “We’re respectful of people’s time without shortchanging their experience.”  

Sharply dressed and armed with the tools of their profession, these gentlemen are providing more than haircuts. When tenants spend time in their barber chairs, they relax. They connect with their barbers and with each other. They experience the intimate care of receiving a haircut. They feel better. They remember their worth.   

Founded in 1997 by brothers Damian and Jermaine Johnson, who were later joined by Charlie Petty, No Grease! offers high-quality barber services for men, women, and children at multiple Charlotte locations, with franchises in Atlanta; Columbia, South Carolina; Greensboro, North Carolina; and Hanover, Maryland.  

Carlton Travis and his fellow students dream about expanding the No Grease! brand after they graduate. With their impressive talents and big hearts, they deserve long and successful careers.