PANAMA CITY, Fla. (WMBB) — He grew up in Panama City, played sports for the Bay High School Tornadoes and even attended Gulf Coast State College but now he’s a local business owner who’s making a name for himself outside of Bay County.
Jay Wade started his barbershop dreams in 2014 when he completed barber school.
After finishing his work in the classroom, Wade came back to Panama City. He got his start inside of a salon.
“It was two ladies by the names of Ms. Teresa and Ms. Jackee at Hair Explosion. They gave me the opportunity to come in and work,” Wade said.
After only a few months renting a chair, Wade opened up his own shop located at the corner of Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard and East 15th Street.
There, Wade’s clientele grew rapidly and they quickly outgrew the building.
His next move took him to the Panama City Mall.
“The mall location was amazing. We had a great spot. It needed a lot of work we had to do it. It was an old Radio Shack. We went in and dug it out and made it happen,” Wade said.
Wade said it was in this location that his business really took off but Hurricane Michael forced him to close those doors.
Since October 10, 2018, Wade says he’d been searching for a new location in Panama City.
“That was difficult. I went through five different options in Panama City but I believe it was meant by God for us to be in the position that we’re in now,” Wade said.
Jay Wade Cutz Barbershop is now open in the shopping plaza located on the corner of Highway 77 and East 23rd Street in Panama City.
The doors reopened exactly one year after Hurricane Michael.
In that year though, Wade was able to open two other barbershops. One is located in St. Petersburg, the other in Dothan, Alabama.
Even though he was still growing his business, Wade says getting a new shop in Bay County was a priority.
“It’s special because this is where it all started. The customers and clientele base and the people that built what I have now so there was a special place in my heart to try and make it happen,” Wade said.
Now that it’s open, Wade says he’s excited to see how much more the business can grow in his home town.
While he’s building his brand, Wade says he hopes his journey will inspire those who come after him.
“I do want the kids that grew up in my city or the younger generation that’s growing up in my city to understand that if you put your mind to do something, it doesn’t matter what the odds are, what happens or what may conspire, it doesn’t matter if a hurricane strikes or if you’re going through the most difficult season and time of your life that if you have determined in your mind to do something and with the help of God, you can do it, Wade said.
Wade is currently working to open a Jay Wade Cutz Barbershop in Clearwater and Miami. He says those shops are scheduled to be open before 2020 ends.