In 1944, during World War II, Lieutenant Colonel Charles Carpenter had been assigned to L-4 for reconnaissance and artillery support for troops in France. A military aircraft, named Rosie the Rocketer, was used primarily for missions. Carpenter, a former school teacher, found the aircraft was not as helpful as it could be. So, he manually fashioned bazookas onto the plane, and caused quiet the chaos for German fighters.
This is how Lt. Col. Charles Carpenter became “Bazooka Charlie,” the new namesake for what once was Griff’s Ace Grooming & Shave Bar.
“It’s a story that makes people smile,” said Justin Goehring, the owner and president. “Right now everybody is so divided, but this was back in the day when people were, you know, more together. And so everybody kind of smiles at that story.” Also, he added, the name definitely rolls off the tongue as you say it over and over.
The military-style barbershop and salon not only made changes to their name, but to the company culture. Goehring is feeling more confident and excited about the chapters ahead of the barbershop. The franchise they were part of closed down and abandoned the brand, leaving Goehring with hard decisions to make about the future of the business.
What they’re not changing, however, is the military-themed design for their shops.
“I fell in love with the military style brand. It sings to me. My grandfather was a WW2 veteran and I grew up looking up to him. I set out with a goal to create a brand that basically can fulfill the vision of what I always knew Griff’s could have been,” said Goehring.
An important part of this process, for Goehring, was not only welcoming back his employees with full benefits after the Covid-19 shutdown, but finding new locations to grow, remarking that while people were shuttering their doors, he was diving headfirst into planning for the future of his business with resuming stability, expansion and franchising the Bazooka Charlie Barber Co. at the top of his mind.
“I want to make sure that if someone is doing the job of a barber, or a hairstylist, that this is a great place for them to work,” said Goehring. “And so I wanted to, from an expansion standpoint, I wanted to continue to build on what I thought Griff’s was and continue to grow more with Roanoke as our original location.”
While Goehring plans for expansion, he makes sure to mention that he wouldn’t leave the Roanoke location behind, saying that his employees comment all the time about how welcoming and kind the community has been.
“Everything's coming together in Roanoke,” said Goehring. “There is so much growth and so much vibrancy in this area. I love it. I love seeing customers happy.” After enduring a pandemic, Justin Goehring is more optimistic than downtrodden.
Goehring remarked. “And, you know, we had two choices, sink or swim, and we chose to fight. That kind of goes to, I think, to the theme of, how can I say if it's a military theme if I'm not a fighter?”
Bazooka Charlie’s plans to open up two new locations, one in Keller and the other in North Richland Hills. The Roanoke location will change in early spring 2021. Goehring hopes that they can create brand awareness through marketing as well as excellent customer service.