Mobile hair salon to provide free haircuts to community members, encourage youth


Anthony Pierce-Rodriguez in front of his mobile hair salon

There’s just something about a new haircut that makes you feel “totally different,” said Harrisburg resident Anthony Pierce-Rodriguez, who has been a barber for 42 years.

However, he acknowledges that a trip to the barbershop is not something everyone can afford.

As of this week, Pierce-Rodriguez will propose a solution. Community members, adults and youth, can hop aboard her mobile hair salon for a free haircut and a chat.

He plans to roam the city at his barber shop on wheels, Street Art Innovative Design, named after his old barber shop in Uptown Harrisburg. Each week, it will park at different locations.

For Pierce-Rodriguez, haircuts are a way to build relationships and share her story to hopefully inspire members of the community.

“A hair salon is like a home away from home,” he said. “People open up about things.”

Inside the mobile hair salon

From the age of 13 until 2011, Pierce-Rodriguez went back and forth in prison, was involved in the drug trade and dealt with addiction himself. These days, those experiences drive his passion to help the community, especially young people, avoid the mistakes he made.

“I want to be a father figure to them and give them a better path,” he said. “I want to make sure that young people don’t follow the same steps. It’s about breaking the cycle.

He hopes to have those conversations and build relationships by offering free haircuts. But for Pierce-Rodriguez, it’s also bigger than that.

Through his organization, Actions of Change Foundation, he plans to partner with other local nonprofits to tell his story and work to improve his community.

“I’m going to put the footwork on,” he said. “I’m not just talking about talking about something without doing it. I want the community to become a village again.

Pierce-Rodriguez intends to expand his organization, but for now he is focused on welcoming people to his barber chair where he can give haircuts and cheering. It is also seen as a resource to be able to steer people in need of specific services in the right direction.

“The knowledge that I learned from making my mistakes, I’m going to give to people,” he said. “There is always a solution and a way to be a better person.”

The Pierce-Rodriguez Mobile Hair Salon will be open Thursday through Saturday from approximately 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. in locations around Harrisburg. This week it will be parked on the 300 block of Peffer Street in Uptown Harrisburg.

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