Willie Wims, owner of Wims Hair Studio, a barber shop located on SE. 13th Street was among the award recipients. Once a run-down auto-detailing shop, Wims Hair Studio is now a neighborhood cornerstone — serving not only as a barber shop, but also as a convening place for fellowship.
“It’s a pillar for the community,” Wims says of his shop.
For years, Wims has owned the vacant lot next door to his current studio space. The lot was often used as a dumping ground for trash and other refuse—making Wims the frequent recipient of notices from codes enforcement. When the building next door came up for sale he knew he had to buy it.
“I wanted to buy the space next door to bring it back to life. But, I also wanted to keep its history,” Wims said.
For 15 years Wims had operated his barber shop out of a rented building on 16th street but always dreamed of building his own barbershop on the east side of town.
The building, built in 1958, was in need of a serious overhaul, but Wims insisted that the original character of the building must remain in-tact.
The CRA (community redevelopment agency) awarded Wims a facade grant to help make his dream a reality. Work began immediately and the project was completed in December 2017.
Friends, family and clients were in attendance at the awards ceremony and offered enthusiastic cheers as Wims accepted his well-deserved award.
“It was clear that this ceremony was more than just a recognition of aesthetics, but rather a show of community spirit, empowerment and love,” said Karissa Raskin, civic collaboration specialist with the City of Gainesville.
Raskin and a team of community representatives were also recognized during the evening for their establishment of a community garden at Fred Cone Park. The community garden is flourishing and so is its capacity for bringing people together.