Business Community

Business Spotlight | The barber behind the bookshelf

Posted on June 10th, 2024 By:

There’s a secret behind the bookshelf at One:11, the men’s apparel and accessories store in downtown Gig Harbor. The bookshelf isn’t (just) a shelf. It’s a hidden sliding door that opens to a barbershop.

Once a storeroom filled with inventory, the barbershop is surprisingly large. Natural light streams through large windows waking up the vibrant and playful space. A foosball table is ready to entertain any age waiting for a cut, a buzz, some dreads, or even a man’s facial or a hot towel shave.

The barbershop is equipped and decorated like a man cave. Photo by Julie Warrick Ammann

Grooming and grooving

The vibe is vintage cool. “We want it to be old school,” Bruce Hillenbach said of One:11. The retro-hip barbershop slid open its hidden bookshelf last September.

The growing footprint of the “Gentlemen’s Den” adds to Hillenbach and his partner’s retail space in downtown Gig Harbor. Cofounder Starr Hall also owns Arch & Starr, a home and personal goods store on Pioneer Way.

Forget scrolling through Instagram or responding to emails on your device. Put down your phone, kick up your feet and read a back issue of Rolling Stone magazine from the 1970s.

Ditch the pesky pods growing out of your ears. Unplug and enjoy some vinyl records on Wax Wednesdays. This free monthly event invites the public to listen to an entire album from start to finish, followed by a discussion.

This is “more than just a barbershop,” Hillenbach said. “We want to offer something different.”

Hillenbach said the barbershop provides a place “to put down your phone and give yourself time to relax.” There are no TV screens at the One:11 Barbershop. It’s a “kind of walk into the past,” he noted.

Bruce Hillenbach, owner of One:11 and its barbershop. Photo by Julie Warrick Ammann

A barbershop with backstory

The history isn’t just in the vintage decor. The building housing One:11 on Harborview Drive holds a significant place in Gig Harbor’s past. Established in 1922, It is known as the Thurston Building and was once home to the Pioneer Electric Company.

The late Judge Dick Thurston owned the building where court proceedings took place. Early Gig Harbor Town Council meetings were also held in the space. Commercial boat outfitting and medical offices were there too.

Charlotte Cheeks is the master barber at One:11. Raised in Texas, Cheeks was drawn to the vintage feel of the shop. “It just reminds me of the country. It’s homey.”

Master barber Charlotte Cheeks cuts Bruce Hillenbach’s hair at One:11 Barbershop on Harborview Drive. Photo by Julie W. Ammann

Haircuts aren’t just for the guys and the grownups here. Ladies and young lads can freshen up the locks, too. Cheeks has more than a decade of barber and stylist experience.

All those who serve — military, police, and fire — receive a 10% discount on any service at the barbershop.

Buzz cuts, beard trims and more

Services include buzz cuts, regular men’s and women’s haircuts, kids’ cuts, waxing, and men’s facials. Beards are welcome and cared for too. Men’s grooming supplies are available to purchase. Cuts range from $30 and up. Book appointments on the One:11 website. Shop decor isn’t just for looks. If you like it, you can buy it.

In celebration of Father’s Day, the One:11 will offer a special package to help you show your love and appreciation for the big guy in the family.

While One:11 caters primarily to men, an unexpected customer has emerged: the drop-off customer. One:11 has observed a steady stream of women dropping off their men while they shop in the harbor.

“This place is really funky,” Hillenbach said. “It restores peace.”

Inner peace or peace at home, there’s a little something for everyone at the One:11 Barbershop.

One:11 Barbershop


Address: 3104 Harborview Drive

Hours: 11 am to 5 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday

Contact:  [email protected]

Social: @one11gigharbor

The barbershop includes a foosball table to occupy waiting customers. Photo by Julie Warrick Ammann