Newry.ie

Dan Gebski interviews Sorin Lungulescu (George) from Chop Shop Barbers, St Mary's Street, Newry.

DG: We all know it is hard to start from point zero especially when you not living in your own country. Sorin (George) is the example of a Hero who had an dream and was working hard to get to where he is now. Let us find out about George and see his journey in Northern Ireland. Thank you for agreeing to take part in my project From zero to Hero.

DG: Could you tell me where you coming from? How long have you been in Newry? Why Northern Ireland?

SL: I am coming from from a Romania city called Craiova. I came to Newry about nine years ago. I have been working as a barber since I came to Newry.The reason I decided to move to Northern Ireland was I had friends from Romania in Armagh and they helped me come over. Then I discovered Newry which seemed to be better for me and I settled down in Newry .I don’t have any close family from Romania in Newry but back home I have my mother and one brother. In NewryI  live with my partner who is from Newry and we have one daughter together. 

Dan Gebsi with Sorin Lungulescu
Dan Gebsi with Sorin Lungulescu of Chop Shop Barbers.

DG: Can you tell me why barber? What made you to pick this as your career? Tell me more how did you start it all?

SL: It started back in Romania when I was 14 years old really. My cousin had opened her new hairdresser and she taughtt me how to cut the hair and I was working for her as barber for six years. I went to school in Romania during this period and got all my barber qualifications and diploma. Now in total I've been working as barber for over 15 years.

DG: I know you have a very successful barber shop in Newry called Chop Shop Barbers. Can you tell me when have you decided to open your business and was it hard to do it?

SL: I opened my barber shop nearly three years ago.  I had been walking with my partner down the street and seen this barber shop up for rent. I rang the number and had contract in my hands in space of two days. I had a dream to open my barber shop but it was only a thought in my head. So my decision was a very spontaneous one and I went for it. 

DG: Who are your employees? Could you tell me more about them? Are they local or foreign nationals?

SL: I have two employees which work in my barber shop.The full time is local barber Gary who is one of the best barbers I have ever been working with. Also I have a part time employee from Poland.

DG: You probably are aware that Newry city is a diversity city. Do you think Newry people are welcome towards foreign nationals?

SL: I think Newry city is very welcoming towards foreign nationals. And that is what i really like about this city and that is why I have choosen Newry. People are nice and they are very helpful and I have never ever had any bother at all. In fact 85% of my customers are local people and 15% are foreign nationals.

DG: Can you tell me about your biggest achievement and challenge you have had in the past? Also Do you get any support from your family and friends?

SL: One of my biggest achievement was opening the barber shop but also it was the biggest challenge at the same time. I didn't really plan to open my business but I have done it anyway. I had to use all of my savings and it was really scary at the start. The biggest challenge was to manage time between work and family. I had to work at times long hours but it had to be done and it did work. I would like to say that at the beginning when I was opening my barber shop, my partner was very supportive and I don’t think it would have happened without her help .She looked after the house and our child while I worked long hours to build my business . I have also had support from my good local friend John.

DG: What advise will you give to any foreign national person who wants to start their own business? What to do and what to avoid?

SL: Any person who consider to open any future business should have a small plan of action and dream big. Please take a chance and work towards it. Don’t think negative such as what if… what if…Just think positive and take a risk and it will work out for you. 

DG: Do you miss your country and do you think you will stay in Newry forever?

SL: I do miss my country and my family, friends, food and the good weather but I think our home is where the good feeling is while we are living at the present. That is why Newry, it is my home now. I have no plans currently to move back to my own country.

DG: Thank you George for your time in my project and wish you all only the best and good health to you and your family. Dan

SL: Thank you Dan for this interview and for considering me for your project.Thank you! George

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