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Groomed in Braddon is a gentlemen's store with a difference

Part saloon, part barber, part gentleman's outfitters, Groomed is a Braddon barbershop with a little difference.

It's part Western saloon, part barber and part gentleman's outfitters. Groomed is a new barbershop in Braddon that's part of a modern trend of male grooming that also references the past, from the 1800s to the 1920s and beyond.

It's the brainchild of Steve Gamarra, who turned in an everyday job to take a risk on his own business. 

Barber Steve Carbone and owner Steve Gamarra.
Barber Steve Carbone and owner Steve Gamarra. Photo: Rohan Thomson

"I've always wanted to open up a barbershop and it's something that's been going on for a couple of years now," he says. "I like the retro periods... and I went to a couple of barbershops interstate with retro fittings and I thought 'This is kind of cool'. And no one had brought that concept to Canberra so far."

So he set up Groomed, in the Ori building on Lonsdale Street.

Owner Steve Gamarra gives client Kel Watt a shoe shine.
Owner Steve Gamarra gives client Kel Watt a shoe shine. Photo: Rohan Thomson

One side of the shop is devoted to the barber, with leather studded seats, polished copper fittings and sinks hidden in big barrels. The other side is lined with fashion - jackets, shirts, ties, leathergoods and accessories. 

There's a shoeshine chair on one wall and softly lit wooden benches where waiting customers can amuse themselves with a glass chess set or peruse a copy of The Canberra Times.

When Canberra's men settle themselves into the leather chairs they'll be in the hands of "the other Steve" - barber Steve Carbone, who carries out old-fashioned hot towel shaves and styles both hair and beards.

First customer of the day was Kel Watt, who recently moved into the area, and sportingly allowed himself to be photographed getting a very close shave with a straight blade.

Barber Steve Carbone shaving client Kel Watt.
Barber Steve Carbone shaving client Kel Watt. Photo: Rohan Thomson

Afterwards Mr Watt admitted he was a little nervous to go under the razor because he'd recently been watching Game of Thrones but decided Mr Carbone would take extra care because the camera was trained on him.

"It was a very masculine experience but with a little touch of sophistication," he said.

New barber and 'gentleman's store', Groomed in the Ori building on Londsdale St.
New barber and 'gentleman's store', Groomed in the Ori building on Londsdale St. Photo: Rohan Thomson

Mr Gamarra said there were only a select few barbers offering the same sort of service in Canberra and he wanted to "do it in a nostalgic setting, even down to the point of introducing antique switches and the timber, I wanted to create a nice warm feel." 

Groomed joins other Canberra barbers with a retro feel, such as JG The Gentleman Barber in Belconnen and the QT Barbershop.

Mr Gamarra said he decided to give up a stable career to follow his dream.  "In my time I've worked with colleagues who are older than me who have had regrets, or they should've, they would've, they could've," he said. "And one day I decided I wasn't going to get into my 30s and 40s and be 'What if?'"