Rock Falls barbershop brings unity to community

ROCK FALLS, Illinois - A local barber is doing more then just cutting hair, he's using his shop to break down barriers.

You can guarantee it will be a good time when you step foot inside Ben's Phresh Kutz in Rock Falls and there's no shortage of conversation either.

"TVs blaring, we got sports going, we got music going," said owner, Ben Phillips.

However, lately the conversation has more celebratory. Phillips is celebrating 14 years in business.

He got his licensed 14 years ago, making him the first African-American licensed barber in Whiteside County. He soon opened his business; it too would also make history, being the first multicultural barbershop in the area.

"Today we have Hispanics, whites, blacks," said Phillips.

His barbershop is a place that welcomes anyone and you can see that with his clientele, people of all ages and races.

"This barbershop brings the community together as you can see we`re different colors in here and that's what I like about this shop," said Phillips.

It's what has customers coming back year after year.

"Always very warmly welcomed, you know everybody`s cool. We`re all cracking jokes, you know just a friendly place to be," said Bob Kuschman.

Phillips hopes his story of success will encourage young people that they can accomplish their dreams no what color they are.

When Phillips isn't at the barbershop he's at his other job at Wahl Clipper Corporation. He's a master barber there and also works in new product development, where he currently has 9 patents.