Portadown businessmen Dwaine Smyth and Michael Dowell are cutting a real dash these days with their Meat Cleaver butchery at Armagh Road and their stylish Elk & Clipper vintage barbers at Thomas Street.
And this week, international pop star – none other than Shane Lynch of Boyzone – acquired a stake in the business, by teaming up with the duo in the 1920s themed Elk & Clipper, with grand ambitions to expand the successful project.
The trio met at the recent Portadown’s Got Talent extravaganza when Dwaine and Shane were among the judges. Said Dwaine, “We spent most of the night at the barbers and he loved the concept and the direction I had in terms of where I wanted the company to go.
“He was asking all the right questions and I knew from the start it was something that excited him.
“Once he flew home we had numerous business phone calls on how he could become a business partner in our company and how he could invest in it.
“Soon afterwards, I got a phone call from him to say he was flying over to Belfast and to meet up to discuss things further. Over a meal and a few drinks we all came to an agreement and the rest is history. I’m delighted to have a man of his status as a business partner with us.
“Shane is exactly the type of person we would have brought on as a partner as he gets our concept and the direction we want to take the brand. We already are in the middle of setting up another outlet in Banbridge and with Shane on board, our goal is to expand more barber shops under The Elk and Clipper brand across the UK.”
Shane was in Belfast at the weekend at the Feile an Phobail on the Falls Road and was full of enthusiasm about Elk & Clip. He said, “It’s awesome and I’m very excited about it. I’m heavily tattooed and I’ve got a real bushy beard – it’s a particular look and style that tones in with the 1920s.
“I’ve had quite a few chats with the lads and their Portadown project is flying. We’re expanding and delighted to be bringing business to the towns of Northern Ireland.”
Dwaine and Michael added them were over the moon at welcoming in such a high-powered partner and were focusing on developing the Elk & Clipper brand – adding the hair-cutting and grooming business with their Meat Cleaver. “I suppose you could say we’re a cut above the rest in both directions,” said Dwaine.