Gaulien Smith, known as Gee by his friends, believes there are two types of businesses that could change the trajectory of an urban community: a church and a barbershop. Getting your haircut a Gee’s Clippers, a barbershop in an old bank building on Milwaukee’s north side, could not only change your look but also your life and longevity.
For nearly 30 years Smith has run his barbershop and has made it his mission to make it a revitalizing force in his community. Starting from humble beginnings cutting his hair at the age of twelve, Gee’s Clippers has grown into one of the largest barbershops in the midwest and Smith is known as the barber to the Milwaukee Bucks.
Smith is most proud of the impact Gee’s Clippers has made in his hometown. “At some points, I have roughly 80 to 90 people waiting in here. Let’s educate’em, let’s inform’em, let’s give’em resources,” says Smith. With that in mind, he opened MKE Wellness Clinic. It might be the only health clinic in the county located in a bank vault in the middle of a barbershop. It’s a place where anyone can get their blood checked, get a COVID-19 vaccination or get a flu shot for free.
Smith’s mission of wellness and helping others is partially because his own dad passed away from colon cancer, one of the most preventable cancers. “Guys are dying at such an alarming rate from hypertension and different cancers and it’s mainly because they are finding out they have it in the ninth inning,” says Smith.
It’s a barbershop that is a cut above the rest, built on the shoulders of a man from humble beginnings. “My accomplishments definitely make me feel good. I believe I live by the old saying to whom much is given much is required. So I feel like I am just doing what I am supposed to do,” says Smith.