Executive Men’s Grooming in Gilbert

Joe Templin, left, and Tony Starks own Executive Men’s Grooming in Gilbert. 

Tony Starks and Joe Templin aim to keep their Gilbert business a cut above the rest.

The two men, who own Executive Men’s Grooming at 785 W. Warner Road, have a long history in both hair styling and barbering that dates back to their teenage years in Tucson, where they were acquainted.  

As teens, both were backyard barbers, cutting the hair of their friends. It was the early 70s and long hair was de rigueur, yet even lengthier tresses required good styling. 

Starks’ father and uncle owned and ran a barbershop in Tucson and when he turned 17, after completing the necessary courses to be licensed by the Arizona Board of Barbers, he joined them.

Templin was one of Tony Stark’s first customers and it took a while for him to take up the profession. 

“The way I got drawn into barbering was initially out of necessity,” explained Templin, who also is the award-winning Joes: A Barber Shop in Maricopa.

“My friends and I grew up cutting each other’s hair - sometimes to save money and sometimes out of necessity. I then continued to do so for roommates, friends and family,” said Templin, admitting he began wielding scissors at age 14. 

After a concussion necessitated he give up playing football at the University of Western New Mexico, Templin tried his hand at firefighting.  

Throughout his years interacting with Starks, Templin said his friend encouraged him to make barbering a career.

“At 30 years, I went to barber school and I realized it was my calling. I never looked back,” confessed Templin. “I love the interaction with people and it’s great to hear the excitement and feel the appreciation when someone sees an amazing cut.”

And their trained stylists and barbers have earned numerous kudos on social media for transforming bad hair days into miracles.

In the 21st century, there’s been a resurgence of men’s barber shops, most independently owned and operated. And like Starks and Templin like to explain, styling is more than just clipping hair.

“Barber shops are definitely retro, but they’re not old school. A version of it has been a constant since Egyptian times,” said Templin. 

As styles change, attention to detail is another reason the barber shop has once again come into its own. 

“The resurgence of barbershops is something that’s been inevitable,” Templin posited. “It’s more than just cutting hair.  It’s a skill that’s being done in a safe and sterile environment. We as barbers take the natural state of your hair and accentuate it, making it the best look for you.”

Both Stark and Templin are well-versed in both trending and traditional haircuts for men and children. Cuts for short hair or long hair, curly or thin, fades or a clean head shave performed with a professional straight razor, all can be done by EMG barbers. 

“The pickier the customer, the better,” said Starks. “I like projects.”

One of those projects was the faux mohawk now sported by Desert Vista High School guidance counselor Rory Ruelas.

“It’s been a work in progress. I brought in a picture of what I wanted and it took about three times to get it there,” said Ruelas, the father of two daughters ages 10 and 8 who are now fans of dad’s new “do.”

Specialities cover all modern and trending haircuts.  Both men say they keep close eye on hair styles for men to assure their mastery of the art is cutting edge. 

Men’s and children’s traditional cuts, head shaves and hot face shaves, hair coloring and highlights, and waxing are also available. 

One look at both men’s exquisitely maintained beards and it’s easy to see why beard and mustache trimming is one of the popular features at Executive Men’s Grooming. Interesting tidbit: the word “barber” is derived from Latin “barba,” which means “beard.” 

Their hours are long, they said, to better accommodate today’s busy men.

There are currently six barbers in Ahwatukee and 12 in Gilbert, where they open at 6 a.m. Mondays through Fridays and closing at 8 p.m. Saturday and Sunday they’re open from 7 a.m. to 6 p.m.

Executive Men’s Grooming customers are loyal.  Darren Hasler has been a customer of Templin’s for three years. 

“I’m very picky about how I get my hair cut,” Hasler said. “From the very first time I got my hair cut by Joe I said I’ve gotta keep this guy. He does a really good job every time.”

Starks said though styles are high, prices have been kept low. Both locations offer a cash discount.

Appointments are available but walk-ins can usually be accommodated. 

Executive Men’s Grooming can be found on Facebook and Instagram. Their website is ExecutiveMensGrooming.com