Walmart opens chain of successful barber shops inside the store – BarberMaximus
Walmart is one of the companies that decided after the events of last year to do more to right the wrongs created by centuries of social injustice and inequity. The goal is to bring more equity and inclusion to people and cultures marginalized for too long. Under the leadership of Ben Hasan, Senior Vice President and Global Head of Culture, Diversity and Equity Inclusion (CDEI), Walmart recently added a fifth goal to its CDEI strategy, which is to increase fairness and accessibility of the business.
Master Barber Larry E. Roberts Jr. is a partner of this fairness vision with Walmart. Roberts celebrated the opening of its new location, Larry’s BarberMaximus inside the Chatham Walmart Supercenter located at 8331 South Stewart Avenue on September 23, 2021. Walmart believes the opening of small local businesses like Larry’s Barber-Maximus in stores Walmart gives customers the opportunity to experience new services and gives businesses and employees a vision and a path to growth.
The desire to keep Larry’s own hair well-groomed at the age of 13 led to a very successful business venture and a commitment to helping others in the process. Roberts’ family moved to Matteson, Illinois from Chicago when he was a teenager. Realizing that there were no black hair salons in his new community, he bought a pair of clippers for $ 19 from Walgreens and learned how to cut his hair.
He was very good at cutting his hair, creating designs and styles that caught the interest of others. Roberts found himself cutting hair in his parents’ basement for his classmates and close acquaintances at first, but he soon had many clients, some of whom were not black.
Roberts has turned a necessity into an opportunity, but always with a commitment to the highest quality and the most professional atmosphere. Roberts would say to potential customers, “I charge $ 3 and if I disturb you, I’ll pay you $ 3.” But I never had to pay anyone money because I have always been very successful.
He was an entrepreneur. During his senior year in high school, the 17-year-old had a vision to pursue a career as a barber and began attending McCoy’s Barber College. It was what he loved and what fascinated him. At 19, Roberts opened his first hair salon in Matteson with the money he saved by cutting his hair. He says the rest is history. “I will celebrate 30 years of activity. To date, I actually own eight hairdressing and cosmetology schools and am the first person to have a school set up in a county jail, ”said Roberts.
Roberts opened his first barbering college in 2004. Today he is recognized as having the first accredited barber program at a state penitentiary.
Roberts is also in two Illinois Department of Juvenile Justice sites with one recently approved. It also has the support of Illinois Governor JB Pritzker. Roberts supports his prison programs with a nonprofit organization he created to provide resources and finance. In its mission to create the next generation of licensed professional barbers, it also includes former ex-offenders – minors and adults in the prison system while working to reduce the rate of recidivism.
That’s why Walmart took an interest in Larry Roberts, his commitment to providing inmates and former incarcerates values, jobs and support. Walmart recently launched a pilot program in the United States to provide jobs for select people exiting the criminal justice system and offer support through wrap-around services. The intention is to connect citizens with jobs and support that Walmart says will help them successfully re-enter society.
BarberMaximus employs several graduates in the Roberts program hair salon.