YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (WOIO) - Youngstown barbershop owner, Jerome Franklin, never expected to be closed for more than a month while the state and country dealt with the coronavirus outbreak.
The off-time allowed him to revisit a project he launched several years ago.
He created fashionwear that's a combination of a scarf and face mask called, "It's a Wrap."
"Instead of sitting around not doing anything, eating up all the kid's fruits snacks, I decided to revamp and redo my product," Franklin said. "I Incorporated a zipper on the scarf, and I made buttons to where you can do the scarf separate. You can wear the mask, you can wear the scarf, or you can wear the combination of both."
He considers this latest version 2.0.
Franklin sold a similar version a few years ago with Youngstown State University's penguin mascot on it at several Walgreens in the Youngstown-area and the university's bookstore.
He landed licensing agreements with a few other universities, including Cleveland State and Michigan State.
Initially designed for warmth and sporting team spirit, it now serves an added bonus in this coronavirus-minded world.
"This is something that we're going to (wearing masks)," Franklin said. "When fall and winter comes around, you will need it, you'll stay warm, you're stylish, and it's something that is going to keep you safe."
Right now, he's working on getting licensing agreements from more colleges and universities.
Franklin is also going after the big leagues.
"NFL, NBA (and) MLB," Franklin said. "I'd love to get something up for the Browns, the Indians, and the Cavaliers."
As he gets ready to reopen his barbershop, The Starting Lineup Barber and Beauty Shop, in a weird twist, he's reminded that through shutdown creativity and entrepreneurial risks don't have to.
"A lot of times, you don't know where to start," Franklin said. "Once you open the door and once you get to that stage, it's like, 'Okay, it was tough, but it wasn't as bad as I thought it was gonna be."
Franklin plans to have "It's a wrap" available for purchase this fall. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.