CAMP NOVO SELO, Kosovo – For many Soldiers, a barbershop is a sacred place. After the buzzcut of boot camp, one can’t wait to be back at the barbershop getting a clean fade. At Camp Novo Selo in Kosovo, two brother barbers have been giving fades to the Soldiers of Kosovo Force’s Regional Command East for over 22 years now at their barbershop.
Ibrahim and Ismail Hoclar’s Barbershop at the tiny NATO base not only offers Soldiers a great haircut, they also throw in ear hair burning and a complimentary hair wash after the haircut. Upon request, the brothers also provide nose hair waxing if the customer desires.
In their routine, they never forget to brush any excess hair off your body and help you put your jacket back on. They offer an extraordinary authentic barbershop experience for service members serving away from their homes and love what they do for the Soldiers.
“Their customer service is really good and they make sure you are comfortable before the haircut starts,” said Spc. Khiyon Bond, a human resource specialist assigned to RC-E. “After experiencing the burning of my ear hairs I thought it was unique and I’ve never had that done in the United States.”
The two brothers began cutting hair early in life as it has been a family tradition for over 58 years. Their father started cutting hair in 1964 and he taught Ismail to cut hair for the first time at 12 years old, while Ibrahim began at 15. They stated that their father still comes in from time to time to help cut hair even though he is 70 years old.
“Their services are above the bar and they make everyone feel special,” said 1st Lt. Alfredo Lopez-Aquino, the security manager assigned to RC-E. “Their haircuts are amazing, which leads to morale being higher within our forces.”
They worked in their father’s business before being told that KFOR was looking to have barbers come into the German contingent’s base in Prizren, Kosovo. The brothers jumped at the opportunity and set up shop there for 18 years. After the base was closed down, they transferred to Camp Novo Selo. They drive approximately three hours a day from Prizren to Novo Selo. When asked why they do it, they said, “we are very happy and even happier when we hear from Soldiers from different nations that our services are better than their own countries’ services.”
“We are brothers, we are friends and we are business partners,” Ibrahim said when asked about how it feels to work alongside his brother. “I love working with my brother.”
KFOR comprises over 30 countries that speak many different languages. For the brothers, they knew they would need to pick up some new languages as their business progressed. They learned German, English, Italian, and Polish to make things more personable to some of the customers from countries where those languages are spoken.
“We are very happy and we love working with KFOR and throughout the day we get to talk several languages with people from different nations and cultures,” said Ibrahim. “If our customers are happy we are happy.”