Cutting hair runs in Dom Clucas’ family.

“My mom did hair for 13 years. My girlfriend does hair. Growing up, I always wanted to have a nice haircut,” said Clucas, the 24-year-old owner and operator of Black Hills Barbershop, located inside SOLA Salon at 501 Main St. in Rapid City.

Clucas started early — doing simple grooming for himself, his younger brother and friends — using a basic electric clippers purchased at a store.

He progressed to a better-quality clippers for trimming necklines, cutting skin fades and tapers, and even doing Mohawk haircuts.

“I was always into it,” he said. “I always had a niche for it.”

Clucas graduated in 2013 from Rapid City Central. He played high school baseball and went on to play for Dakota State University in Madison for a year.

But the clippers kept calling, telling him it was time to take the next step.

“Everything just kind of kept progressing from there, and then, yeah, I just figured, the passion and the little skill I had, with no education, could only take me so far,” he said.

Clucas moved to Denver, enrolling in barber school at the Emily Griffith Technical College for nine months, then working as an apprentice at his instructor’s shop.

While in school, winning two barbering competitions and placing second in a third bolstered his confidence.

His first win came against eight other barbers, in only his third month in school.

“That’s when I realized this was for me,” Clucas said.

He apprenticed in Denver for a year, but his goal was to return to Rapid City and open his own shop.

He found an opening at SOLA Salon, where budding entrepreneurs in the beauty industry can take advantage of low overhead costs by leasing a space.

“SOLA is awesome, definitely a place to start up your own business and learn the ins-and-outs of things,” Clucas said. “A stepping stone to what’s next.”

Clucas is focused on opening his own shop, hopefully within the next year or so.

Along with specializing in taper and fade cuts, he can also shave artful designs into close-cropped hair.

Some of his recent designs, he said, included a Christmas tree for a holiday look and the Superman logo, just for fun.

Since opening Black Hills Barbershop on Dec. 5, Clucas has built a strong clientele, cutting hair for doctors, lawyers, police officers, he said, everyone from a 6-month-old to an 80-year-old.

His shop is open six days per week, with varying hours to accommodate customers’ varying work schedules.

Clucas wants to combine an old-school atmosphere barber shop with modern barbering and styling methods, a shop where anyone in need of a haircut on a given day, and those who just want to gather, drink coffee, watch TV and socialize, feel welcome.

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Clucas is Native American, but he said he doesn’t want to be known just as a Native American barber.

“I’m proud of who I am and where I come from, but I also didn’t want it to look like I’m a Native American barber shop. That’s not what this is about,” he said.

He is humbled by the support he has received since hanging up his red-white, blue-white barber pole.

His appointment book is full for the next month, unusual for a young barber just out of school, he said.

Eventually, however, he’ll have help.

His younger brother, Carlos Hopkins, whom Clucas first honed his skills on growing up, plans to attend barber college after his graduation from Rapid City Central this spring.

“He’ll be coming back and working for me,” Clucas said.

“I want to be the barber shop for the community. That where I’m headed. I’ll make it happen for sure,” he said.

Credit Union retains Custer location

Black Hills Federal Credit Union announced on April 4 an agreement to remain at 1135 Mount Rushmore Road in Custer.

According to a release, the credit union has been evaluating how to best serve members in the Custer area since Shopko Hometown announced in March they would be vacating the building’s primary lease space.

After reaching an agreement with the building’s owner, the credit union will continue to occupy the same lease space in the building, which will ensure members experience no interruption in service.

Following Shopko Hometown’s closure this spring, credit union members will still be able to access the credit union’s lobby and teller area through the building’s main entrance. Additionally, the drive-up window will be available for deposits, withdrawals and more.

“We are thrilled to continue serving members in the Custer area from this great location,” Jerry Schmidt, BHFCU chief operations officer, said in the release. “We believe the building’s many amenities and services, as well as its proximity to downtown Custer and numerous residential areas truly make it a great fit for our members’ needs.”

The Rapid City-based community-chartered credit union also has locations in Eagle Butte, Hot Springs, Pierre, Sioux Falls, Spearfish, Sturgis and Wall.

For more information, vbhfcu.com.

A sweeter Hill City

Hill City and central Black Hills residents have two new ways to celebrate the easing of this week’s winter storm.

Celebrating grand openings last Friday were two new businesses catering to one’s sweet tooth: The Cotton Candy Shoppe, located at The Farmer’s Daughter at 164 Main St., and Cream, an ice cream shop located at 156 Main St., the former location of Things That Rock.

According to a release from Janet Wetovick Bily, executive director of the Hill City Chamber of Commerce, Friday’s grand opening of the Cotton Candy Shoppe included a ribbon-cutting and sample tastings of more than 40 flavors of cotton candy.

According to Cream’s Facebook page, the shop offers artisan ice cream and specialty coffee.

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