By Barry Barbe
“It actually started as a total joke,” was the response from Grant Quezada, owner and operator of The Founding Fathers Collective on Granite Street in Prescott, as to his foray into the field of barbering.
“I was 20 and living in Missouri, and it was my buddy’s birthday, and he received a gift of $500 cash from a family friend … 500 bucks was a lot in 2001, and I found out it was from a guy that was a hairstylist and I figured ‘I can do this,’ hanging out all day with pretty ladies cutting hair all day. … Not a bad deal. I can do that.”
After three years of cutting hair, Grant was looking for his next challenge in life and followed a delayed desire to enter the military.
To follow were six deployments to Iraq and Afghanistan over eight years with the Special Operations Side of the Army Rangers. Grant continues to serve in the Arizona National Guard approaching 9 years of service.
Returning to Prescott, and civilian life in 2014, Grant and his wife, also a Prescottonian, created one of the most consistent and successful local service businesses, John Hancock Barbershop. The first shop was in a nondescript location in an alley on South Granite. The interior at the time set the standard, look and feel for all iterations to follow, which have become more refined and polished over the past seven years.
Four years later, John Hancock Barbershop added a second location on Elks Hill at the base of the Elk’s Theatre. With the expanded space and chairs, Grant and his wife maintained the business concept by creating a uniquely masculine space that focuses on community and relationships.
“You have an opportunity to really learn something about a person while they are sitting in the chair getting their hair cut or beard trimmed,” Grant said. “We really wanted to create an environment that while masculine, focused on relationships in a comfortable space, with complimentary coffee, beer or whatever.”
Building on collaboration and relationships, Grant brought on Jesse Burke, a friend since second grade, and former Air Force chaplain to help realize the next phase — the Founding Father’s Collective.
“The vision was to create a space where people collect and gather, again creating that sense of community and a gathering space. The idea was to build an upscale coffee shop, bar, and barbershop under one roof, where people can feel comfortable.”
Despite the current perceived feeling that the service industry is in decline, Founding Father’s Collective offers a level of service and consistency not always experienced today.
“Our core values are the Three C’s — Community, Care and Connection,” Grant explained.
That belief structure paired with a military background, creates a level of expectation and teamwork often lacking in other shops. Along with the military relationships, Grant continues building his team and planning for growth by surrounding himself with locals he has known his entire life growing up in Prescott.
Along with John Hancock Barbershop, the large 12,000-square-feet of open space includes a Ju jitsu Studio, Gym, Coffee Shop, Members Only Speak Easy, and a self-serve beer and wine tap system, which is the largest in the state with 65 taps.
While the barbershop is more upscale in feel, it is also welcoming and warm with an outdoor deck overlooking Granite Creek, community style tables in the City Tavern tap room, soft seating in Merchant Coffee and the Speak Easy, which allows local community members to meet.
The space is also available for private events that can be serviced by outside caterers, while food trucks provide light meal options.
Live music is another element that adds to the space, and the Founding Fathers Block Parties — there are six scheduled this year — have become not-to-be-missed events.
Weekly activities include Daily Happy Hour, Family Game Night, Live Music, Trivia and Sunday Poker Night.
Grant is building community through connections and caring.
The Founding Fathers Collective is located at 218 N. Granite St., and foundingfatherscollective.com.
To hear about what else Grant and his team have planned, check out the full interview on The Prescott Palette, on KQNA radio 1130 AM, 99.9 FM, and 99.5 FM in Prescott Valley.
Barry Barbe owns the El Gato Azul and Torme restaurants in Prescott, and is the energy and insight behind the Prescott Palette. His radio show, the Prescott Palette, is on KQNA 1130 AM, Saturdays at noon. Email: Prespalette@gmail.com.