Blue Chip Barber Club aims for rarified hair

Master barber Zach Zaricor says the new barbershop specializing in men’s haircuts, hot-towel shaves, and shoe shines will be “a place for gents to come together.”

There’s something timeless and tactilely satisfying about walking into a barbershop or salon, having someone who knows what they’re doing run their fingers through your hair, and walking out a little while later with a fresh haircut that puts a little extra bounce in your step.

Samson may have lost all his power when he a got a trim, but for most of us a good haircut inspires confidence. Pro Football Hall of Famer Deion Sanders probably put it best: “If you look good, you feel good. If you feel good, you play good. If you play good, they pay good.”

Madison-area men will soon have a new place to go when they want their hair and beards to look good — Blue Chip Barber Club, opening in early May at 8025 Excelsior Drive, Suite 106. BCBC will specialize in men’s haircuts, hot-towel shaves, and shoe shines.

BCBC is the brainchild of Ron and Jay Bradeson of ANiU Salon & Spa in Middleton and Zachary Zaricor, a Madison native and graduate of the barber/cosmetology program at Madison College. Zaricor has been a barber/cosmetologist in Madison for almost 10 years and began his career at ANiU Salon & Spa.

While trained as both a barber and cosmetologist, Zaricor specializes in barbering and has an advanced certification in creative men’s haircutting with Vidal Sassoon. He’s even part of the education team at ANiU, focused on teaching the craft of barbering to the next generation of hair stylists.

“Being both a barber and cosmetologist are about creating art and working with the public to do so,” says Zaricor. “I have a great affinity for both men’s and women’s styling but my passion lies within the art of barbering. I have always been greatly inspired by men’s fashion and style.”

Zaricor notes that with the ever-growing popularity of social media platforms such as Instagram and Facebook, inspiration within the barbering industry is at his fingertips and has become so easy to access. He began following The Scumbag Barbers of Rotterdam, from Schorem Barbier in the Netherlands, about seven years ago and found their work incredibly moving.

“The shapes that Rob ‘The Bloody Butcher’ and Leen ‘The Bearded Bastard’ create in men’s hair were and are so timeless,” Zaricor explains. “[Back then] I was evolving as an artist as a professional in the industry. I had always loved this career but it’s become who I am. Last year I was given a great opportunity to audition as a scumbassador with Reuzel Pomade, which is brought to us by Schorem Barbier, and I made the cut! This was a great accomplishment in my career as a barber.”

With that feather in his cap, Zaricor was the perfect person to help Ron and Jay Bredeson launch a specialized men’s barbershop right here in Madison.

Zaricor notes men’s grooming is the largest growing segment of the haircutting industry. Barbershops are growing nationwide at a rate of about 20%, he says, while salon doors are closing at a rate of 7–13%. “What we are seeing is a greater focus on men’s grooming in mainstream media. In the Madison area, there are a few other barbershops that do specialize in men’s grooming. All barbershops and salons have their own specific culture. We are creating ours to represent who we are and how we do our craft.”

Zaricor says Blue Chip Barber Club is slated to open May 8, though that might flex by a day or two either way. Nevertheless, “I believe we will be celebrating at some point in the next month or so with a grand opening soiree.”

What’s in a name?

There’s significance to the name Blue Chip Barber Club, which Zaricor says will drive how the business operates.

A blue chip stock is one from a reputable brand that never loses value, he explains. Blue Chip Barber Club is being presented by ANiU Salon & Spa, which has been a fixture in the Greater Madison area for almost 30 years.

“ANiU is the reputable brand that we are coming from,” Zaricor says. “What we do as artists and barbers in our community never loses value. We provide a place for community to happen and grow.

“Also, we always see the term barbershop everywhere,” continues Zaricor. “What I wanted was something a bit different. I wanted not just a shop, but also a club — a place within the community where a gentleman feels that he belongs. In days past, men would go to the barber and women would go to the beauty parlor. The barber is where men would talk about what was happening within their town or city. Fellas would sometimes just stop by to see who was there and to catch up on current events. This is the exact idea behind the culture that we are creating — a place for gents to come together.”



BCBC will have a total of four barbers to start, including Zaricor. The shop has a fifth chair but Zaricor says he’ll take his time finding the right candidate to fill that spot, someone who fits with the culture he’s creating.

“First and foremost I see myself as an artist,” says Zaricor. “I am serious about my craft and look at each patron as an individual. I customize all of my work to fit my patron’s lifestyle, head shape, and hair type. We develop close relationships with our patrons, and I feel very blessed to have so many great people around me. I feel that I’m in the greatest industry in the world — one of the oldest and greatest professions.

“Madison is our home,” he adds. “We wanted to bring something more to this amazing city. Our culture continues to be dynamic and we believe that Blue Chip Barber Club will be a great addition to Madison and to the men who reside here.”


“Our industry is ever-changing and paying attention to the trends is crucial,” Zaricor says. “Trends do hit us here a bit later than on the East or West Coast, let alone Europe, but it is part of our job to keep our patrons in the know about what is current.”

The current hot trends probably aren’t a surprise to anyone who’s been paying attention: beards, beard care, and men’s hair.

“The classics in men’s hair are always on point,” notes Zaricor. “Tight fades, business savvy push back flows, anything tidy. We are also seeing, and have been for a while now, big pompadours and other revival styles.

“Beards are also big business,” Zaricor adds. “Keeping them looking clean and well groomed, whether they are big and have serious flow or are tightly cropped, is our job as the artist with the shear, straight razor, and trimmer.”

Despite the increased attention men are beginning to pay to their hair and beard care, Zaricor says guys often still err in their personal grooming habits, namely in taking a one-size-fits-all approach.

“Some common mistakes you see in style are men not wearing a shape that is suited for them,” Zaricor explains. “Shifting a shape or creating a shape that is more flattering to their head shape is again something that we as barbers and artists can do to help our patrons. When it comes to product, many times guys will just use whatever in their hair. Using the appropriate product for their hair type/texture/length is pertinent to create a real style for that gent. This includes shampoo, conditioner, styling products, and skin care. All of these things are important paired with a good foundational haircut and some good advice.”

Beard care is equally important, and Zaricor says it comes down to two main things: cleanse and moisturize.

“Keeping your beard clean is important,” he notes. “Keeping your skin under your beard clean is important, as well. If your skin under your beard is clean this may help in the growth of your beard. Find a good beard cleanser. There are many on the market so find one that does not contain heavy silicones. These can coat the beard making it feel silky at first, but can actually build on the beard and suffocate the hair and skin making for an unhealthy beard. Making sure you are moisturizing your beard with the appropriate oils, foams, and balms is key, too. These products together promote the ultimate in softness as well as control and conditioning.”

Finally, there’s the age-old question so many men have about what to do when their hair is no longer there.

When it comes to the gent with thinning or receding hair, keeping your hair closely cropped is ideal, advises Zaricor. “It is all a matter of preference, but I believe this to be true. If you are going to shave your head, make sure you are using the appropriate skin care while doing so. Taking care of your skin under your hair is equally important as taking care of the hair on top.”

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