Wahl Clipper stays on the cutting edge in Sterling

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There's a buzz at the 1st Avenue Barber Shop in Rock Falls on Friday.

"I'm excited, personally," said owner Dan Yanes.

Yanes actually uses Wahl clippers at work.

"This is made right out here," he said.

And after providing the tools for nearly a century of haircuts, this hometown business with a global reach is expanding.

"It puts a lot more people into work in construction," Yanes said. "They'll probably add some jobs to the warehouse."

Wahl Clipper will invest some $8.5 million to build a new corporate headquarters. The company is getting a state incentive package worth $1.6 million for the project.

Construction on the 40,000 square-foot building should start soon and be completed by the end of this year.

"For them to not only maintain their headquarters here but also the manufacturing aspect, that's huge for us," said Sterling City Manager Scott Shumard.

The Wahl Clipper deal is especially important to the local economy. It should protect some 900 local jobs while positioning the company for future growth.

"They're worldwide," said former Rock Falls Mayor Ed Mulvaney, who was getting a haircut Friday with Wahl clippers. "Anywhere you go, you see a Wahl clipper."

Mulvaney knows all about that impact. The company is one of the top three employers in Whiteside County.

"They're everywhere," he said.

"We're absolutely blessed to have them," added Yanes.

At the 1st Avenue Barber Shop, it helps to reinforce Whiteside County as a good place to work and live.

Wahl even consulted with Yanes about the clippers he uses.

"I had a little bit of an impact, not much, but a little bit on how these are made," he said.

Just like the 1st Avenue Barber Shop, Wahl Clipper will stay on the cutting edge with a deal for the future.

"It shows the community that Wahl is here to stay," Yanes concluded.