Meet Your Neighbor: Will Devin
By Will Brown
When Will Devin realized he had a passion for cutting hair, he was inspired to open a business back home on the Gulf Coast. Devin had originally began cutting hair for those in his barrack while he served in the military, and, once he got out, he went to school to learn the trade. Today, Devin now owns The Bearded Owl barbershop in Gulfport, just a short drive away from his hometown of Long Beach. Devin says he enjoys running a business on the Gulf Coast and is proud to serve the community he calls home.
“I like the versatility and freedom of owning a business on the Gulf Coast,” Devin said.
“It gives me the freedom to make my own hours and spend time with my daughter.”
Devin grew up in Long Beach and lived there until he was in the sixth grade. After briefly moving to Pennsylvania, Devin returned to Long Beach shortly before Hurricane Katrina, and he says he has seen the ways the community has recovered from the devastating storm.
“A lot of my friends are business owners in Long Beach,” Devin said. “They have a lot of goals and ambitions they are working toward.”
Devin originally opened The Bearded Owl in 2018 and moved the shop into its downtown Gulfport location in 2020 at the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic. The shop faced a number of challenges during this time, such as being forced to shut down that spring and having to wait to reopen until most other businesses had already done so.
“We were the first to be forced to shut down, and the last to reopen,” Devin said.
Devin said The Bearded Owl was well-equipped to survive the pandemic, and he had previously saved enough money to handle the shutdowns, as well as to purchase the land for the Gulfport location. The Bearded Owl now has four employees, and, despite the challenges of the pandemic, the business is now running fluidly with minimal challenges. Going forward, Devin says he hopes to continue to provide high-quality, affordable haircuts to everyone from doctors to lawyers to working people throughout the Gulf Coast.
“I enjoy what I do,” Devin said. “It’s pretty second nature at this point.”
Q: What is your favorite things about Long Beach?
A: I know a lot of people, have a lot of friends.
Q: What are your favorite hobbies outside of work?
A: I compete in beach volleyball; I love volleyball. I play men’s softball. I fish, and I play a ton of pool, but volleyball is my favorite hobby. My favorite thing to do is spend time with my daughter, whether that is going to the beach or going to the park, or walking down the street and going to Sonic.
Q: What is your favorite restaurant in Long Beach?
A: Probably the Long Beach Deli.
Q: What are some of your favorite books and movies?
A: Anything classic, whether reading or movies. I like older stuff.
Q: If you could go anywhere in the world, where would it be - and what is your favorite place you have traveled to?
A: Somewhere away from civilization, someone natural, whether that’s a forest, mountains, coastline, just where there are not many people and just where its Mother Nature in its natural glory. I like everywhere I’ve been.
Q: If you won the lottery and got one million dollars, how would you spend the money?
A: Honestly, I would probably use it to create better facilities and housing for elderly needs.