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V's Barbershop: The nationwide franchise with Tucson connections

Posted at 1:10 PM, Apr 04, 2024

When Jim Valenzuela opened the doors to his first V’s Barbershop in the upper-crust Phoenix neighborhood of Arcadia in 1998, he was scared to death.

“I didn’t know if it would last a month or 25 years,” he said.

Valenzuela wanted a place to take his son, like the kind of barbershops his dad had gone to growing up in Tucson.

“So, we did haircuts, shaves and shoe shines and it worked,” he said.

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Fast-forward to 2024 and Valenzuela’s barbershop concept has turned into a nationwide brand, with 60 stores in 20 states across the country, and 10 more locations on the way.

Besides a winning concept, Valenzuela attributes the growth of his business to one particularly well-known Arizona businessman, who helped get him into the franchise business.

“A guy by the name of Doug Ducey, who was running Cold Stone Creamery, approached me about doing a joint venture,” Valenzuela said. “He just loved us.”

Valenzuela also believes his Tucson roots played a role.

“I had a wonderful childhood here,” Valenzuela said. “My dad was the guy on T.V. that owned Gordo’s (Mexicateria).”

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Jim Valenzuela

It was Valenzuela’s dad, Al Valenzuela, who shaped Jim into the businessman he is today.

“My dad was a tough guy, but I wouldn’t have done this without him,” Jim Valenzuela said. “I wouldn’t have had the confidence, I wouldn’t have had the breadth of education, and I wouldn’t have been as deep thinking as I am now without my dad’s influence.”

Valenzuela aims to make customers comfortable when they walk into V’s.

The business owner claims to have the largest collection of antique barber chairs in the world.

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The images on the walls of each of his shops showcase an array of sports, from baseball to football, including a shot of a young Muhammad Ali.

“I wanted the iconic photos to be able to foster conversation, so that fathers and songs could enjoy the experience,” Valenzuela said. “We just wanted to transport people to a different environment for a half-hour at a time. I love this.”

It’s the inviting environment that attracted franchise owner Nate Lipton to the business.

“It was a place made for guys, and guys these days do not have a lot of opportunities for self-care,” Lipton said.

“If we know your name walking in, and we make your kid feel good, and give them a lollipop, were doing something right,” Valenzuela said.

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Heidi Alagha is an anchor and reporter for KGUN 9. Heidi spent 5 years as the morning anchor in Waco where she was named the best anchor team by the Texas Associated Press. Share your story ideas and important issues with Heidi by emailing heidi.alagha@kgun9.com or by connecting on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter.