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Rudy's making the cut at new Bellevue shop | Barbershop reopens on Main Street
Redevelopment in Old Bellevue forced Rudy's Barbershop to take a brief hiatus several months ago, but two-hour wait times for a trim during its grand reopening last weekend was proof customers are glad to have it back, said CEO Vy Le.
"I think what Rudy's does well is build that community center," she said.
And the new 14-chair Bellevue location on Main Street is a buildup on that, now one of the biggest Rudy's Barbershops in the country. A stone's throw from the former barbershop site — slated to be razed for The Gateway mixed-use project — Le said customers flooded her inbox with ideas before she settled on the old Jasmine Thai building.
"This building came from a customer who knew our brand, who knew this was happening," she said, adding the buildout took about three months to complete. "We kept a lot of the original aspects of it, like the wood."
"Actually, a guy came in here and he had his first job here as a dishwasher in 1973," said Nick Fenton, shop manager at Rudy's in Bellevue, who started out at the company's Capitol Hill and University District locations. He added it was great to get back to his hometown. "It's kind of fun to be back here. Bellevue's changed a lot."
With its larger structure and parking lot, Le said Rudy's was also able to bring in all of its partners, which includes Krochet Kids International and Public Bikes. Le said Rudy's partnered with San Francisco-based Public Bikes to encourage clean transportation, offering discounts to those buying the bikes at the barbershop and discounts on haircuts to those using the bikes to get to their appointments. Krochet Kids International employs women in Northern Uganda and Peru to produce sellable clothing, the proceeds going back to the communities where they're made.
But it's been Caffe Vita's pop-up coffee shop at Rudy's — its first in Bellevue — that has been getting a lot of the buzz, said Le. Fenton said about half of those coming through the door are looking for coffee, which is being offered for free through Sept. 5.
"The partnership is incredible," said Pearl Nelson with Caffe Vita. "We're very excited to work together."
Nelson said Caffe Vita has plans to expand at Rudy's, into a full-size coffee shop, and will continue its business model of good coffee and support for local artists. He said Rudy's and Caffe Vita are also collaborating on the barbershop's next location in West Seattle.
Le said she also has plans for the old metal trailer that had been used for temporary signage at Rudy's. Some of it is secret, but she said it includes redesigning the trailer to take "on tour" to explore its potential in October.
Rudy's Barbershop is located at 10713 Main St., Bellevue. Find out more at Rudysbarbershop.com or by calling 425-467-1462.