Humans of Cleveland

Humans of Cleveland

Photos by Peri McIntosh

Downtown Cleveland may appear to be your cookie cutter line of small-town storefronts, but you can find some real gems amidst the community's law offices and funeral homes. For this week's edition of Humans of Cleveland, we explored some of the more unusual locales Downtown has to offer, and we weren't disappointed.

"Fat" Schults, Downtown Wig Studio

"Fat. Fat Schults."

"Oh, is that your name?"

"That's Mr. Fat to you, young lady. People have been calling me that for as long as I can remember. Nobody ever calls me by my real name. Nobody."

"I've been in the wig business almost 40 years. 99.9% of people today don't want human hair wigs - they want synthetic wigs. And about 90% of my clients are cancer patients, the rest are the ladies from the school or the ones who work at the court house and law offices. Just put on a wig and you don't have to worry about how your hair looks, I guess."

"Where do you get all of these wigs?"

"There are only six manufacturers in the world, and a lot of them are overseas. They make all types of different fibers, everything in here is a fiber wig."

"What are the different types of fibers?"

"There's poor, good, better, real good, and the best."

After the interview, he told us that he wanted to show us his hobby. The entire back end of his store was covered wall-to-wall with posters of famous Western movie actors and other cowboy memorabilia, complete with a stack of real western-style saddles. He told us if we could name one actor each, he'd buy us a Coke. We didn't end up getting a Coke, but he did give us fake hair pieces on the house.

"Hello, partner. That's cowboy talk. Whipper snappers."

Chris Flanders, All 5 Elements

"I think I'm different from the whole world, to be honest with you. I think that our world needs to evolve to a higher level of being - we need to start caring about each other more and to encourage new ways of thinking. That's why I came here. I was sick of living in Florida, and sick of not really fitting in. Areas with mountains and rivers are the places that really spiritual people tend to live by, really sensitive people, so I scouted this town to see if it would be a good fit. It was only 375 for rent and I already had money saved up for a store, and before I know it - bam! I'm in Cleveland. So I opened up the store, and this is what I do. This is who I am. Now I've just gotta wait and see what happens."

"How would you describe your store?"

"It's a very open minded place. Anyone, whoever you are, can come and hang out and just be themselves...It's good to share in other religions and expressions - diversity is what makes us great."

Bonus: Hadley, the ridiculously photogenic cat who wanted in on our photo shoot.

"She's like a person. I'm really big on zodiac signs, and I think she's all fire energy. No anxiety, loves being the center of attention. She's a good employee."

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