You may have seen this week’s Feature Friday recently in front of some of Poughkeepsie’s landmarks, with a barber’s chair. Alex Vivar, co-owner of The Great Studio on Main Street, has been doing some pretty cool things around the city. So we decided to get to know the man behind the chair. Check out the little interview we had!

Are you from the area originally? If not, what drew you to Poughkeepsie?

I was born and raised in Manhattan, NY and didn’t move up to the area until 2001. After graduating middle school, my dad thought it was a good idea to move upstate with my mom for a better life and school system. I went to Millbrook High school for 2 years, then my mom decided it was best we moved to Poughkeepsie.

Can you tell us a bit about your salon? Why did you set up in Poughkeepsie? What is your favorite part of what you do there?

My partner Claudia and I opened up The Great Studio in 2016. At the time she was working at a different salon and I was working at a barbershop in the area. We both decided it was time we joined forces and introduce a new vibe to the city of Poughkeepsie. We wanted to be in Poughkeepsie because it’s central to the Hudson Valley and we believed it was on the rise. We also wanted to be part of the growth and prove everyone wrong. People didn’t think we would be able to survive since we were more expensive than local salons. They also thought the clientele we had and wanted would never come to Main Street; they were wrong. The studio would have never opened if it wasn’t for Claudia’s support. I almost decided to stop the project because we hit many unexpected bumps. My favorite part about our studio is that we offer an experience and vibe that one else has in the area. Not only do we do great hair but we also showcase local artist, have art showcases, karaoke, and pop-ups for local artist.

Are there any new projects you are currently working on that you would like to share about?

Claudia and I are working on 2 individual projects that I can’t speak to much about. Just stay tuned is all I’ll say.

Where is your favorite place in Poughkeepsie?

My favorite place in Poughkeepsie is the walkway. I love riding my bike, and taking walks to clear my mind. The views up there are amazing and priceless to me.

What do you like to do for fun in Poughkeepsie?

For fun I enjoy going to the riverfront with my kids. Whether they are playing in the playground or riding bikes. Poughkeepsie also has many great restaurants where we can grab a bite. And I can’t forget the walkway, I go there at least once a day.

What is your hope for the future for yourself and Poughkeepsie?

I know I will help put Poughkeepsie in the map; it’s such a beautiful city, where you have it all. I don’t know what the future holds but I know I’m part of the growth. Who knows, maybe I’ll run for mayor one day.

Is there anything else you would like to add?

My kids definitely motivate me to follow my wild dreams and Claudia has been my mentor throughout my growth. Without their support I don’t know where I would be today. I continue to chase my dreams to let others know anything is possible. Being Mexican American, I want to motivate the Mexican community in our area, that they can also follow their dreams and make a positive impact in Poughkeepsie.


If you don’t already, make sure you go follow Alex @alexthegreatvivar, and The Great Studio @thegreatstudio!