Meet Some of the Area’s Most Beloved, Sought-After Barbers

A Cut Above

A man in need of a clean cut doesn’t have to look far in the Scenic City. Chattanooga has a number of barber shops that offer quality trims and great service. But any frequently groomed gentleman knows that when you’re seated in a passionate barber’s chair, it’s more than hair that’s in for a little refining. The best barbers are equal parts craftsman and confidante. The fondness they have for their work translates through their shears and manifests as a confident smile on the face of a satisfied client. 

Here, we are showcasing some of the area’s most devoted barbers who love serving their communities with an exceptional barbershop experience.

Photography by Matt Reiter

Richard “CT” Torregano

Faded Barber Co., Owner and Operator

How long have you been barbering?

20 years.

What inspired you to pursue barbering as a career?

My mother Jeanna Torregano provided for my family for many years being a hairstylist. She opened her first shop in the back of my grandmother’s house on Booth Road in Brainerd. When I was in middle school, she owned an upscale, full-service salon called Ragg Top where the likes of athletes and entertainers would frequent. Seeing this sparked my interest in the hair industry, and my journey began. 

What’s the most rewarding aspect of your work?

Seeing the reactions of my clients post-service is one. Witnessing boys grow into young men and having a hand in shaping that is another. The most rewarding part of it all is knowing I’m a vessel doing God’s work. 

What do you like most about the community your business is a part of? 

I love the family-oriented unity that Chattanooga holds so dear. We have a calming culture that is magnetic. 

How are you intentional about making your clients feel welcome?

We want our shop to be a place for everyone, from the music we play to what we watch on TV, and especially what we converse about. We greet every client with a smile and try to put ourselves in their shoes while providing them with a quality experience. 

How do you want clients to feel when they leave your chair?

I want them to feel like the celebrity clients I service, because they are just as important to me. 

You were nominated for this article because people in the community consider you a beloved barber. How does that make you feel?

I’m humbled, grateful, flattered, and blessed. I love my city, and to know that the love is reciprocated is priceless.

Is there anything you’d like to add?

I’d like to thank God, my family, all of our clients and friends, the Faded Barber Co. staff, my church home Temple of Faith, and my wife Porsche. She is my rock, my rib, and my reason. I’ll continue to represent Chattanooga proudly. 

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Keith Lee

East Ridge Barber Shop, Owner

How long have you been barbering?

60 years.

What inspired you to pursue barbering as a career?

I lived in a small town on a farm with little opportunity for a career to support a growing family. I was 19 years old and married with my first child on the way. My brother-in-law and brother encouraged me to enroll in barber school. After I completed school, I purchased my first shop. 

What’s the most rewarding aspect of your work?

The most rewarding part of my 60-year career are the customers who have become lifelong friends and some more like family. Also, I’m most proud that my life as a barber has enabled me to provide for my family. I’ve built a wonderful life with my wife, four children, and four grandchildren. 

What do you like most about the community your business is a part of? 

The best part of working in East Ridge is the small-town community where everyone knows one another. The community has always been loyal and supportive of local businesses.

How are you intentional about making your clients feel welcome?

It’s always been a priority for all our customers to feel welcome and at home in our barber shop. There have been times that customers would drop by, not for a haircut, but for entertainment and conversation. Customers become friends with one another. 

How do you want clients to feel when they leave your chair?

I want them to be satisfied and already looking forward to their next visit with us.

You were nominated for this article because people in the community consider you a beloved barber. How does that make you feel?

GRATEFUL!

Is there anything you’d like to add?

It has been a pleasure serving so many families, some for generations. I’ve had the privilege of cutting hair for many family members over the years. I was fortunate to work side-by-side with my brother for 57 years, oldest son for 38 years, and my sister-in-law for 45 years. I’m proud to say that at 79 years old, I’m still blessed to be cutting hair today.

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Laith Al-Tamimi

Royval Salon, Master Barber

How long have you been barbering?

Eight years.

What inspired you to pursue barbering as a career?

It started off as a hobby in 2010. I was doing $5 haircuts in my dorm room bathroom. Ever since then, I never looked back. 

What’s the most rewarding aspect of your work?

I believe it’s what happens behind the chair on a daily basis. I learn a lot from clients of all walks of life. The most rewarding thing, I would have to say, is fixing a bad haircut.

What do you like most about the community your business is a part of? 

We have a beautiful city that’s constantly growing. We have amazing people in Chattanooga and an incredible food scene. That’s especially important, because I’m a foodie. The more the city grows, the more diversified it becomes, and I believe with that, creativity flows.

How are you intentional about making your clients feel welcome?

I believe it all starts with trust. A majority of my marketing is word of mouth. By the time clients make it to my chair, they know to just sit and let me work. I believe over time we develop a friendship, and from that point on the haircut becomes an experience, because clients open their entire world to me as I do the same for them. That is a special feeling.

How do you want clients to feel when they leave your chair?

Encouraged and motivated.

You were nominated for this article because people in the community consider you a beloved barber. How does that make you feel?

Humbled, because I never knew what once was a hobby could later become a passion that would inspire and change so many lives. It’s an honor to be able to represent all the fine gentlemen that I service. I am truly blessed. 

Is there anything you’d like to add?

We live in the greatest country ever known – a country that is filled with endless opportunity, a country that fuels the driven. I’ve always said if your heart is pumping, you always have a chance in America.

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Marquell Crutcher

The Gentleman’s Barber Lounge, Owner and Master Barber

How long have you been barbering?

Six years.

What inspired you to pursue barbering as a career?

The art of barbering intrigued me as a kid. I watched my dad and my cousin cut hair, and once I tried it, I was instantly good at it.

What’s the most rewarding aspect of your work?

Being an ear to those who feel silenced and lifting spirits with each haircut.

What do you like most about the community your business is a part of? 

There are so many role models in the community. I also love that this city provides opportunities for some of us who had a challenging upbringing. 

How are you intentional about making your clients feel welcome?

I let my clients lead the experience. I’m able to connect in such a way that I know when they’re having rough times or great moments, and I allow them to express themselves. 

How do you want clients to feel when they leave your chair?

I want them to feel fresh. I want them to feel exuberant. I hope for them to be motivated to live life to the fullest. 

You were nominated for this article because people in the community consider you a beloved barber. How does that make you feel?

It’s an honor to be recognized for something I cherish so much. This is really a craft that I would do even if I wasn’t getting compensated.

Is there anything you’d like to add?

I’d like to add my appreciation to Chattanooga and the surrounding areas. I pour myself into the craft of master barbering, and to have the community believe in me and choose me to give them the ultimate barber experience means the world to me.

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