Dubois barber designs a way for wheelchair users to have comfortable haircut experience

Local News

CLEARFIELD COUNTY, Pa. (WTAJ) – The owner of Baka’s Barber Shop has invented a device that will provide individuals with physical disabilities a more comfortable experience while getting a haircut.

The idea came to Charles Sallows back in barber school when clients with mental illnesses would come in for a cut.

“Just witnessing them getting haircuts and different things like that the comfort wasn’t there and there was no ability, especially for a shave there’s no ability for me to access an individuals’ neck without putting them at a discomfort without stretching their neck,” said Sallows.

And according to Sallows, barbering is all about the experience.

“It’s really not about the haircut most because men don’t care they just want a haircut, you know what I mean? It’s the time and the service.”

A service catered to the client; something that Sallows is used to providing after working as a recreational therapist for nearly 20 years.

“I’ve always said it’s about putting the care in healthcare,” said Swallows.

That mindset drove Swallows to turn his idea into a reality.

“The basic platform is a platform that lifts, leans back, and swivels. So not only are you getting the chair but you’re getting the barber experience,” said Sallows.

And according to Sallows his idea is coming to life, all thanks to The University of Pittsburgh’s Department of Rehabilitation Science and Technology and Swanson School of Engineering students.

“The engineer students were superb, I mean even the meeting just the confidence that they allowed me and the connections…they just made it a great process, so all respect goes to UPMC,” said Sallows.

While the chair is still being developed and manufactured, Sallows hope is that when it’s done, it will be used universally.

“Whether its entertainment, whether it’s in a dentist office, or barber chair or a salon…nursing homes. Anywhere where there’s an individual in a wheelchair that will allow them to not have to transfer for comfort of services,” said Sallows.

As for his advice to anyone with an idea…

“I love when people say I wish somebody would…I wish somebody…and I always say to that person well you’re that somebody because you’re the one that saw it. No one else sees it like that. So we just got to put ourselves out there and if you have that idea I’d recommend obviously run with it,” said Sallows.

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