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12:49 PM Sat, Nov. 17th

Gentrifying Granite Creek

New barbershop, taproom, coffee shop aims to bring business activity to North Granite Street

Grant Quezada, left, and Jesse Burke, right, stand on the deck of the 218 N. Granite St. building that they are renovating to serve as the new Founding Fathers Concept – a barbershop/taproom/coffee shop/speakeasy that will bring business activity to the Greenways area. They say the business should be open by spring 2019. (Cindy Barks/Courier)

Grant Quezada, left, and Jesse Burke, right, stand on the deck of the 218 N. Granite St. building that they are renovating to serve as the new Founding Fathers Concept – a barbershop/taproom/coffee shop/speakeasy that will bring business activity to the Greenways area. They say the business should be open by spring 2019. (Cindy Barks/Courier)

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The warehouse site for the planned Founding Fathers Concept business sits along the banks of Granite Creek. Business partners Granite Quezada and Jesse Burke plan to install garage doors that will link a taproom and coffee shop to a patio offering outdoor seating in the downtown area. (Cindy Barks/Courier)

A creek setting, a hip taproom and coffee shop, and an array of relaxing barber chairs: A pair of local entrepreneurs is hoping it will be a winning combination.

The Founding Fathers Concept, headed up by Grant Quezada and Jesse Burke, is looking to build on the successful model of the John Hancock Barbershop, which offers a mix of modern grooming, vintage barbershop design touches, and a choice of coffees while customers wait.

John Hancock has been in business in the historic Elks Theatre building on Gurley Street since 2014, and now, founder Quezada and his business partner Burke are looking to expand.

They see an old warehouse space along Granite Creek as a prime spot. Renovations are currently underway on the 218 N. Granite St. site, and the owners say they hope to be open by spring 2019.

“We are looking at growing the whole brand,” Quezada said.

Noting that John Hancock has “maximized its space” at the Gurley Street site, Burke said the plan at the new site is to nearly double the number of chairs – to 11.

The goal is to combine modern comforts with the camaraderie of an old-time barbershop. “It will feel like a classic barbershop,” Burke said. “Number-one is the experience; the intent is to slow the process.”

But the business will be much more than just a barbershop. Quezada and Burke noted that along with the glass-walled barber area, the Founding Fathers Concept would include a large industrial space for an extensive tap wall carrying dozens of beers, combined with a coffee shop.

To play off the creekside setting, the renovations will involve opening up the area with garage doors that will link the taproom and coffee shop to a patio.

Quezada, who recently took a proposal for revitalizing the Granite Creek Greenways system to the Prescott City Council, noted that the patio, which will directly front the creek, would provide an amenity that is in relatively short supply in the downtown.

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Grant Quezada, left, and Jesse Burke, right, explain the renovations that are planned to take place in coming months to convert an old warehouse space into a barbershop and taproom. Quezada, who founded the John Hancock Barbershop on Gurley Street, says the new multi-faceted Founding Fathers Concept aims at growing the brand. (Cindy Barks/Courier)

“There is not a lot of outdoor seating in the downtown,” he said. “Here, we have 100 yards of space to use for outside seating.”

To expand the concept even further, Founding Fathers will incorporate a members-only speakeasy, and a jiu-jitsu gym.

Both military veterans, Quezada and Burke said a culture of camaraderie would be foremost in the Founding Fathers’ model.

“There are less and less places for people to connect and hang out and have relationships,” said Burke, who served as a chaplain in the U.S. Air Force.

The two are also both graduates of Prescott High School – Quezada in 2002, and Burke in 2000 – who returned recently to their hometown.

They have plenty of work ahead in renovating the old warehouse that has served over the years as an antique store and dance studio.

Walking through the building, Quezada said most of the existing interior walls would be torn down, and a glass front would in installed to separate the barbershop for the rest of the activities.

Along with the interior work, the renovations will also include repainting the entire exterior and paving the parking lot, which will have 35 to 40 spaces.

Overall, Quezada believes the new business would “re-gentrify this whole area.”

The space is near the old Sam Hill warehouse building, which serves an art gallery for Prescott College, as well as that Prescott Community Gardens that front the city’s Greenways Trails.

City Manager Michael Lamar said the plans fit in with the city’s overall vision for the area along the creek. “I am thrilled to see entrepreneurs like Grant and Jesse reinvesting in the Granite Creek Corridor, as their efforts help validate the city’s view that this area is primed for development,” he said.