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Bareknuckle Barbershop opens 2nd downtown Spartanburg location, expanding to Rock Hill

Bareknuckle Barbershop Staff

Bareknuckle Barbershop opened its second shop in the former location of The Black Derby Barber Co. on Nov. 28. From left, Amber Davis, Amanda Cromer, Ashley Rushing, Tyler Maupin and Travis Guffey at the new downtown location on 169 E. Main St. in Spartanburg, S.C. Asia Rollins/staff

SPARTANBURG — A new barbershop has moved into the former location of The Black Derby Barber Co. on East Main Street  downtown and is expanding into Rock Hill early next year.

Bareknuckle Barbershop plans to bring a 1950s atomic, retro feel mixed with new age designs to its second location that opened on Nov. 28. the third location in Rock Hill opens in February.

The barbershop's downtown location has a range of hair and facial services for ages 13 and up. Customers can get cuts, beard trims, head shaves, head facials, back facials and manicures.

“We really wanted to kind of keep the flow of what we had, but come in with a huge redesign,” said co-owner Ashley Rushing, whose past experience as a professional mixed martial arts fighter inspired the name. “I think it sets the tone for what's going to be built down here.”

The barbershop has classic, black barber chairs and exposed brick on some walls. One of the walls was painted by artists Leon Wilkie. The wall, which is painted to resemble atomic-era art, has colorful designs and a light blue background. There’s a room in the back of the salon that will soon be an arcade.

Rushing said having downtown Spartanburg as a second location was unexpected. She heard that The Black Derby Barber Co. was closing and was able to work out something with the previous owner so that the space could stay a barbershop. For Rushing, The Black Derby Barber Co. is special because she spent some time working at the shop.

Though Rushing said she has a passion for men’s grooming and cosmetology, she also had a career as an MMA fighter.

Rushing competed for a little over a decade. During her career, she fought women who are in the UFC such as Tecia Torres and JJ Aldrich. Rushing signed a professional contract with Invicta Fighting Championships and had two fights with the women’s MMA organization before she sustained an injury that ended her career.

“I knew that wasn't my forever thing, but it does hold a huge part of who I am,” Rushing said.

Rushing has experience working in a full service salon and has run her own suite. She and her business partner, Tyler Maupin, started Bareknuckle Barbershop in 2019. Maupin came up with the name of the business. The two opened their first barbershop in Drayton Mills Marketplace in 2020.

Rushing said she sees the Drayton Mills Marketplace location as a full family barbershop. The location provides services for kids, women and men.

“We were in here pulling all-nighters trying to get as close to what we envisioned the shop being and making it our own,” Maupin said. “I want everybody to go into the shop and see that it’s Bareknuckle Barbershop, but every shop is going to be different.”

Maupin said that each location has a different theme.

The Drayton Mills Marketplace location has a New Mexico desert feel with lots of live plants. There’s a full-size bar that people can sit at that overlooks the barber floor.

The Rock Hill location will have a New Age feel and be very colorful. There will be collages of different aspects of Rushing’s background in the barber and MMA world.

The Rock Hill location is near the campus of Winthrop University, inside a food hall that used to be a mill. The owners said they’re hoping the university and businesses near their third location will bring a lot of foot traffic.

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Follow Asia Rollins on Twitter at @asiarollins98.

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