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Local Barber Cory Shelton's 12 Year Journey Back to Where it All Began

Cory Shelton is an apprentice barber at Goat Barbershop right outside of Atlanta, Georgia. He studies under master barber Sterling Sharp.


When Cory was 16, he got his hair cut. His mom picked him up from the barbershop; he got into the car and asked her to take him to the store so he could buy a pair of clippers. He was so impressed with his cut; he wanted to learn how to do it.


She did. He got the clippers and needed some help adjusting them. He went back to the shop and asked the barber to help him out. He did. For free.


Since then Cory has been practicing cutting hair. Throughout college at Georgia Southern, where he studied business management, Cory would give his friends $5 haircuts. After college, Cory started his Instagram page posting pictures of his cuts and following other barbers, especially those from Philly where many of his favorites hail from. Wanting to improve his skills, Cory reached out to many of those barbers hoping to get tips on how to become a better barber. Unfortunately, few reached back out. Cory continued to study their pages and cuts and turned to Youtube as well.


That is when Sterling Sharp came across his page, liked what he saw and invited him into the shop. Cory was floored for two reasons. First, because Sterling is somewhat of a legend barber in the Atlanta area, and Cory was shocked that he drew his attention. And second, this is also the man who gave him that haircut at 16 and hooked up his clippers for him. And now, Sterling was asking him to come into his shop so he could give him a chair and teach him a few things. When Cory arrived at the shop, he looked across the street and there was his high school. The circle was becoming complete.


When Cory told Sterling about that first pair of clippers, 12 years prior, Sterling had no recollection, possibly because he has done the same for so many young people in his community, who knows.


Goat Barbershop’s philosophy is to be the best at whatever it is you are doing. In the shop, there are pictures of G.O.A.Ts from all eras and industries. Muhammed Ali, Michael Jordan and the like don the walls as a reminder. Cory believes that at Goat Barbershop he will be able to become his best because another philosophy there is unity. There are about 8 barbers in the shop and no one is greedy. Each wants to lift the others up, to help them reach their potential, to feed their families.


This philosophy of unity may also explain why Sterling has been so supportive of Cory. Sterling took on Cory as an apprentice. This is a big responsibility and many barbers do not have the time or take the time to do this. But barber school is expensive, and to become a licensed barber, you must log 3000 hours. Cory was not about to pay for more schooling since he was already paying back loans for his undergraduate so finding Sterling was a blessing.


Another unique thing Cory really likes about working at Goat is the community it brings. Each day you can find a whole set of characters in there. Their unspoken rule of no politics and no religion is meant to ensure everyone’s comfort, but it does not stop the men from engaging and talking about important stuff. You may walk in and find a pastor philosophizing, not about religion but about life. Local entrepreneurs stop by during lunch to sell their food. And you will surely see Lou’s van out front selling the barbers all the barber supplies they need.


Cory feels like he really hit the jackpot when he found Goat Barbershop in his journey to becoming a great barber and one day a shop owner.


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