Barber opens shop downtownWhen the downturned economy caused Mike Villaran to lose his job as an automotive service technician a few years ago, he began scoping out his career options, using the people he knew as resources.
By: Sarah Gorvin, The Republican Eagle
When the downturned economy caused Mike Villaran to lose his job as an automotive service technician a few years ago, he began scoping out his career options, using the people he knew as resources.
“I made it a point to talk to the guys I did business with,” Villaran said.
But it wasn’t until Villaran “got to talking with one of the barbers in town,” that his conversations actually led to a new career.
After 1,500 hours of training at a metro-area barber school, a one-year apprenticeship and a couple stints at area barbershops, Villaran felt it was time to go into business for himself. He opened Mike’s Barber Shop, 430 W. Third St., Oct. 2.
“It was one of those things. I knew I wanted to buy my own shop,” Villaran said.
offers standard barbershop offerings — men’s and boy’s haircuts and straight-razor shaves — on a walk-in basis from his downtown shop.
“It’s the old-fashioned way,” customer Fereydoun Behnam said as he got his hair cut last Thursday.
In the month since he’s been open, Villaran said business has been going “really, really well.” The downtown location offers plenty of foot traffic, Villaran said.
“I like being a part of a downtown like this,” Villaran said. “It’s important.”
Before the shop opened, Villaran redid the inside of the small space. In addition to installing barbershop staples including large mirrors on two walls and the barber chair, Villaran and wife Abby painted the walls and stripped five layers of flooring to get to the current birch.
“From ceiling to floor, everything got touched,” he said.
It’s work that has paid off, according to customers.
“I just enjoy the atmosphere,” Red Wing resident Jim Anderson said as he waited for his turn in the chair Thursday.
Anderson added that it’s not just the paint color that makes coming to Mike’s Barber Shop a good experience.
“It’s the social aspect of it,” he said. “It’s good common bonds in a shop like this.”
Looking back, Villaran said there are some similarities between his automotive technician career and cutting hair, adding that a few of the skills from his former career transfer over into barbering.
“You’re still using tools. It’s eye-hand coordination,” Villaran said.
Still, there is one thing that makes his new job completely different.
“I certainly enjoy this more than I did that,” he said.
What: Mike’s Barber Shop
Where: 430 W. Third St.
Hours: 8 a.m.-5 p.m. Tuesday, Wednesday, Friday; 8 a.m.-7 p.m. Thursday; 8 a.m.-noon Saturday
More information: 388-4247