GET TO KNOW THE OWNER – Pam Burling of Junction City Barbers

Get to Know the Owner – Pam Burling

In this new series, we interview the business owners of our shops here at Junction City! We were very happy to get to know more about Pam and her passion. Pleas enjoy the Q & A interview below!


Q: Growing up, did you see yourself ever owning your own business?

A: “Yes. My dad was a barber, I had four uncles who were barbers, and two aunts who were hairdressers. I learned how to cut hair to pay my way through Bradley University.”

Q: What kind of relationships do you have with your customers?

A: “Oh, very long standing relationships! This is my second time at Junction City and I have people that have been with me when I started in the 70’s.”

Q: Do you have a hobby and if so, what is it?

A: “I do yoga, and used to do a lot of weaving and beading. I also do a lot of reading.”

Q: What does “Shop Local” mean to you?

A: “To me, it means you support all the little, small micro businesses that help enhance your life! I never thought I would stay this long, but what you have is clients that support you and that’s why. They know they are getting the same service each and every time they come in.”

Q: What is a tip you would give someone who wants to start a barbershop/hair salon?

A: “I would love to find my younger self. The biggest tip, I would say, is learn the craft, learn the trade, be consistent, and show up. That’s the biggest problem we have, consistency and showing up. Also, develop relationships with your clients because that’s the only thing that will keep you in the industry.”

Q: How long have you been a tenant at Junction City and why did it appeal to you?

A: “I started here when I was nineteen years old. I grew up in a small town ninety miles north of here called Sterling. My dad was a barber in Sterling on Main Street and this was Small Town, USA. When we were little kids we used to come to Junction City from Sterling because they had all kinds of different stores. You could find everything you wanted. They had a drug store, grocery store, barbershop, beauty shop, ice cream store and more. It was a fun place to be. So, I started here when I was nineteen and the guy I worked for had never hired a girl and didn’t know if he wanted a girl. He said, “Okay, I’ll give you a shot!” All I was trying to do was pay my way through Bradley. I was here for three and a half years and then he and I didn’t see eye-to-eye because he didn’t want a part-time barber and I wanted to finish school at Bradley. I basically left here, went to Europe for two months, came back, and was going to cut hair part-time to finish school. I always missed this place because I liked the small businesses and I liked seeing the same regular people all the time. During the 80’s I moved to Minneapolis and sold real estate and did interior design for about eight years before moving back to Peoria. The guy was going to retire and said, “Hey Kid, I’m retiring do you want the shop?” I can’t even decide to buy a pair of shoes in three days, but I came back and signed the lease in less than an hour. The place was a dump, he didn’t have that many clients, and you could tell that Junction City had seen better days. I just knew in my head I saw this place vibrant.  In my head it was always vibrant! I shut the place down for four weeks and opened it up in January of 1994.”