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Local man turns life-long passion into booming business

After 11 years in the barber industry, Daniel Gilbert opens MVP Barbershop

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February 21, 2024

HOBART — After 11 years in the barber industry, Daniel Gilbert said his love and expertise of the trade led him to take the next step in his career — opening MVP Barbershop, located at 740 Centerline Drive in Hobart.

Gilbert said for him, it all started when he began cutting hair for his friends and family.

“That’s when I fell in love with barbering,” he said. “I went to barber school, got my license and (rented) a chair for the past 10 years at a local barbershop.”

Over those 10 years, Gilbert said he built up a solid following — which got his entrepreneurial gears turning.

“I always knew I wanted to have my own business — I just didn’t know what it was yet,” he said. “After building up a good clientele base, I knew I was ready to go all on my own.”

Taking the next step
Gilbert said once he made the decision to open his own shop, it wasn’t long before he started to look for a location.

Then, he said, an opportunity presented itself in Hobart with Team 1848 — an organization that provides young men and women an opportunity to participate in basketball while also learning life skills — and plans quickly fell into place.

“Me and Harry (Boyce) — the owner — collabed,” he said. “When he built the building (for Team 1848), he knew he wanted to have a gym, a basketball training facility and a barbershop.”

With the location secured, Gilbert said he and his wife spent time saving, planning and renovating the space MVP Barbershop would eventually call home.

“It was a grind,” he said. “When I got off work at the barbershop (in Appleton), I would drive up here and then we would go right to the studio space (to work on it).”

Daniel Gilbert

Coming up for a name, Gilbert said, was a much easier — and premeditated — task.

“I’ve had the name way before the space even came about,” he said. “I played basketball in college, (and) in basketball, (you have your) MVP, the most valuable player. I knew I wanted people to feel like they’re the most valuable person while they’re in the chair.”

Gilbert said MVP Barbershop — which officially opened its doors last November — specializes in a multitude of hair needs and wants — such as fades, razor shaves and haircuts (for both men and boys) — but he said the barbershop’s services go beyond just that.

“There’s a service that is called the MVP Experience,” he said. “It’s a full package service where you get a shampoo and wash, a beard trim, haircut and then I have a black mask to help prevent acne and clean your face and pores. You also get a steamer with the lavender oil and then a hot towel.”

Cutting hair for the GBP and MB
In the midst of preparing to open MVP Barbershop ñand even before that — Gilbert said he has had the opportunity to cut hair for a handful of players with both the Green Bay Packers and the Milwaukee Brewers, an experience he said has “been a blessing.”

Some of the players include: Rasheed Walker, offensive tackle for the Packers; Thyrick Pitts, wide receiver for the Packers; and Garrett Mitchel, center fielder for the Brewers.

“For the Packers- it was an opportunity where I had cut (hair for a ) couple of them out of their houses,” he said. “For the Brewers, I had met with them and was cutting their hair way before I even made the move up here. It came from hard work and word of mouth.”

Customers and the community
Since opening last fall, Gilbert said customer “response has been great.”

“There’s been great feedback,” he said.

Since he worked in Appleton before opening MVP Barbershop, he said “only 30%” have followed him to Green Bay — so much of his time has been spent building up his clientele.

One way he is doing that, Gilbert said, is through getting involved with the community — something he is passionate about and has been doing since renting a chair at his previous barber job in Appleton.

MVP Barbershop also offers cuts for kids. Photo Courtesy of MVP Barbershop

“I’m planning to do a back-to-school event this summer (where MVP will give free haircuts and school supplies),” he said. “I also just became a member of the Greater Green Bay Chamber, so I’m going to be doing some stuff with them.”

The barbershop owner said he’s also a member of Brother’s Breakfast, a nonprofit organization based in Green Bay that caters to youth and gives back to its community.

“This past Thanksgiving, we blessed 100 families with turkeys,” he said. “For Christmas, we adopted a family and gave a family that was struggling a Christmas they couldn’t afford. And then we’re actually in the midst of partnering up with the Boys & Girls Club to do some mentoring there as well.”

Filling a need
As MVP Barbershop nears four months in business, Gilbert said it’s been rewarding to see his business fill a need in the area.

“There are no urban barber shops in that area,” he said. “We can cut any type of hair — it doesn’t matter.”

And, to Gilbert, he said his shop is more than just a place to come get your hair cut.

“You can come and talk, find out information about the city,” he said. “And (it’s a place) where men can come in fellowship as well.”

MVP Barbershop is open from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Tuesday through Friday and 10 a.m. to 5 p.m Saturday.

To book an appointment or learn more about the barbershop, head to its Facebook page.

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