Athlete perseveres toward ownership


Lou Foglia

Barber trims a customer’s hair inside Bobby Dee’s.

By Assistant Sports & Health Editor

Despite growing up poor in Chicago’s Uptown neighborhood, international basketball star Bobby Dixon used his early struggles as fuel to take over a local business.

Dixon currently runs Bobby Dee’s Barber and Hair Salon located at 4543 N. Broadway.

“As an athlete, you’re not going to play forever,” Dixon said. “You have to gradually develop into the real world after you’re done playing your sport. It’s better to own something than work for someone else, so I want to see how this turns out and build off of it.”

Dixon said Dwayne Brown, his best friend and co-owner of the shop, frequently went to the barbershop and heard that the business was in trouble.

Dixon said the previous owner of the barbershop was looking to sell the space, so Dixon said buying the shop would be a low risk for his first business venture.

“The potential was good,” Dixon said. “I felt that, if it was handled in the right way, [the shop] could become profitable.”

Dixon and Brown have co-owned the shop since July, but Brown says they have considered running a business together.

“Ever since we were children, we always talked about it,” Brown said. “The opportunity came and we decided to make the move.”

Brown said as a child the barbershop was a place where you could have fun and not worry about the violence in the streets.

“You could always come and enjoy yourself, talk to great people and get educated from men in the shop,” Brown said. “It was also a safe haven for youth.”

Brown said when running a business you must be committed and have patience because nothing comes overnight.

“It takes dedication, time and knowing that this is a building process,” Brown said. “You probably won’t see any money in the beginning, but if you keep the vision and stay focused, sooner or later you will make money and have a successful business.”

Dixon said being a first-time business owner taught him not only how to manage money, but how to also engage with and learn from people of all backgrounds.

“When [you are] an owner, you deal with a lot of different personalities,” Dixon said. “I learned that you have to have different relationships with everyone and keep everyone happy because they’re working for not only themselves, but [also] for you.”

Anton Phillips, a licensed barber at the salon, said the shop has made dramatic changes since it opened nine years ago as Clippers & Shears.

“We have the best stylists and barbers on the North Side of Chicago,” Phillips said. “We upgraded and added a younger environment and energy to the salon.”

Brown said the barbershop offers what other shops in the area do not with 10 stylists and barbers. The shop has a great vision, walk-ins and the equipment is top-notch, he said.

Dixon said the new renovations and diverse neighborhood helps to create a different vibe, which he and Brown shine for.

While Dixon does co-own the shop, he also plays point guard for the Turkish basketball team, Pinar Karsiyaka.

Dixon, 31, said he wants to continue to build on what he has now and become a better business owner, athlete and man.