Twain Taylor learned barbering at his grandfather's knee, and he often heard the older man fantasize about something that didn't then exist: a barbershop on wheels. Taylor pursued his career through conventional channels -- owned shops, leased space, and eventually house calls for his high-profile celebrity clients -- but he never forgot his grandfather's vision. One day he saw a mobile pet grooming business operating from a Mercedes-Benz Sprinter, and he had his "aha!" moment. "The Sprinter was the answer," he says. "This was like finding a G5 (Gulfstream V) jet in a world of prop planes, and I knew it was what I needed to make my dream business a reality."
Taylor says the Mercedes brand projected the same "best or nothing" attitude he uses to position his own business, Twain's Kuttin Up. He chose a 2013 Sprinter Model 2500 High Roof Cargo Van with 170-inch extended wheelbase as the perfect platform on which to build a luxurious mobile barbershop, but he knew there was still a lot of work to be done.
Converting the dream to reality
Taylor turned to Ron Weaver, owner of Automotive Designs & Fabrication and a Sprinter Preferred Upfitter, to engineer the transformation. It was a challenging upfitting project, one Weaver says would not have been possible with any other van. He had to install storage tanks for 100 gallons of water, a water heater, a working bathroom, and other items mandated by the health department for barbershops, mobile or not, and he was able to place most of that infrastructure underneath the chassis. "The bottom of this Sprinter is just as sexy as the top," Weaver quips, and the top is sexy indeed: satellite dish, five flat screens, video game consoles, beverage service, and of course all the accoutrements of an upscale hair salon.
Weaver lauds the Sprinter's safety, rugged engineering, and flexible and capacious design, and Taylor is continually impressed by its comfort, drivability, and the economy of the BlueTEC clean diesel engine. "You forget you're driving a van because it drives like a Mercedes," he says. "And when I pull up in front of a Hollywood awards show or a Beverly Hills mansion, it says exactly what I want it to say about Twain's Kuttin Up."
Build Your Sprinter Business Model
Create your own Sprinter your way. Just go to the "Build & eQuip" tool at http://www.mbsprinterusa.com/shopping-tools/build-and-equip. With a multitude of configurations, there's a Mercedes-Benz Sprinter option designed to fit your needs. And to connect with a Mercedes-Benz Sprinter dealer near you today, simply click on the "Find a Dealer" link at the site.