Hearing that you can’t get your haircut because the barber doesn’t know how to cut your type of hair is becoming a thing of the past in Northern Colorado thanks to XAAK’s Barbershop in downtown Loveland.
Owners James and Margarita Holland, who opened doors on Martin Luther King Jr. Day 2022, offer a much needed alternative to the hectic Denver commute that many patrons would otherwise have to take just to get their hair cut well. Transplants from larger cities and locals alike are raving about the clean shaves and skillful fades they receive from James, aka “Hanns” The Barber.
XAAK’s identity as a true black barbershop is a meaningful distinction of historical and cultural significance that James hopes will become a valuable addition to Loveland’s community landscape. African American barbering is famously known for it’s exceptional precision and detail, no matter what type of hair you have. As James puts it, “I love to see the shock and awe on people’s faces when they are turned to the mirror and see how good their hair looks when it's done.”
Black barber shops are also known for having a welcoming culture where people can authentically connect and engage in meaningful conversation. Since the 19th century, black barber shops have been an essential part of American history playing a critical role in the cultural and economic development of African American communities.
It was sheer happenstance that led to the establishment of XAAK’s in Loveland. James, a Houston native, met Margarita while attending Colorado State University (CSU). He had studied criminal law and political science at Grambling State University and CSU, with his eye on a career in law enforcement. Margarita studied human resources. James had nearly completed his degree when financial constraints altered their plans and the couple returned to Houston to work and focus on family.
While their dreams took a turn, the reroute has evolved into a blessing after all. In Houston, James had worked in various management positions and even a stint in law enforcement before taking a year off to rest and reflect. That’s when the idea of becoming a professional barber surfaced. He had learned to cut his own hair from his Dad who was a licensed barber while serving in the military. While it’s a good skill to have, James never imagined that his early know-how would evolve into his passion and livelihood. But then James believes that everything happens for a reason, and that faith-filled mindset is what put his unforeseen legacy into motion.
James was driven to succeed which for him meant becoming the best professional barber he could be. He completed his barber training at Houston Barber College and went on to get his Instructors Endorsement besides. He did everything he could to better himself at his craft. Even the challenge of 2020 became an opportunity for James to hone his skills. When people couldn’t find a place to get a haircut due to closures, James took his haircuts to the people. “I cut people’s hair wherever I could - in parking lots, at the unemployment office, on the sidewalk”, he recalls.
James and Margarita had full intentions of opening a barber shop in Houston, but changed plans following a brief yet fortuitous stop through Loveland. The co-owners have run with it and are doing their part to add to the quality of life in the Loveland and northern Colorado community. Margarita, who leads management and HR for the shop, sits on the Board of Directors for the Loveland Creative District.
“There is a need for us to be here,” James says, adding, “I want to provide a great service for people that is close to home.” He views the business as so much more than a barber shop. What really matters to James and Margarita is making meaningful impact on Loveland’s cultural and economic well-being.
XAAK’s, an acronym for the names of his four children, offers a menu of services from traditional ‘Texas’ fades to custom cuts, as well as beard and esthetician services. “If you have hair, I’ve got a chair!” James gleams.
329 N. Cleveland Avenue, Loveland