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Rise barbershop continues to help those in recovery

By George Pelletier - Milford Bureau Chief | Sep 12, 2020

NASHUA – Rise Barber Shop, located at 136 W. Pearl St., has been helping those in recovery for the past year, because the shop is owned and operated by those who have been there and know what it takes to get clean.

Giving back to the community was something that Rise owner Craig Brewster promised himself when he got sober. His “Project Look Good Feel Good,” is one example of how he and his team have helped those who needed some assistance, an ear to bend, or a shoulder to cry on.

“We made three hundred t-shirts,” he said, “And every shirt that we sold, a donation was made to provide free haircuts for those who couldn’t afford one. We did that six months after we opened and ended up selling all the shirts.”

Recently, Rise and Brewster sponsored a cornhole tournament at Greeley Park on Sept. 6 and some 200 people participated.

“I believe we raised a little over $10,000,” he shared. “That money will go to the recreation center that they’re building on Quincy Street. The tournament itself was our first annual so we know we’ll do another one next year, with money likely going to a scholarship for someone who needs to go into programming or might need housing or sober living.”

Rise is now involved or has partnered with Harbor Homes, Revive Recovery Center, the Process Recovery Center, and GateHouse Treatment, to name several.

Brewster said he has lost track as to how many people in recovery have walked into his barbershop. He said he also has people come in for a haircut who may not know what the shop is all about.

“People come in and they don’t know that we ourselves are in recovery,” he explained. “Just in conversation, it will be brought up and the person sitting in the chair has never heard of us and it’s their first here. People just pop in for a cut and we find out through talking that they’re in recovery, too. It’s crazy how many times that has happened.”

Although some people might think there is healthy competition for barbershops in the downtown area – there are several within blocks of each other – Brewster said it’s not competition at all but rather a complete and healthy support system.

“Competition hasn’t hurt us at all,” he said. “Between all the barbershops, you’d think there would be a rivalry or something between them. It’s really all love. I actually cut the hair of one of the barbers down the street. The guys down the street who work at other barbershops come down here all the time. Like I said, it’s all love.”

Brewster said it’s difficult not to become emotionally involved with some of his customers who come into the shop as they have talk about falling on hard times.

“It is hard,” he said. “Especially for those who are struggling. Myself and the other guys want to do as much as we can to help them. It’s tough. It’s a hard line to not get emotionally involved but a lot of our clients are close friends. You feel for them.”


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