ST. PETER, Minn. (WCCO) — Nate Paschke knows that first impressions aren’t always what they seem.
“It’s a hole in the ground, literally,” he said.
As the owner of Nate’s Barber Shop in St. Peter, Minnesota, his store front is nothing more than two signs next to a barber pole. However, the understated exterior is in stark contrast to the personalities inside.
“We tell jokes. We harass each other,” Paschke said.
Paschke never wanted his business to become the cookie cutter place to get a haircut.
“Today, the idea of getting a haircut oftentimes is in a express place,” Paschke said.
Instead, he envisioned a place honoring old time barber traditions.
“It’s set up as it was many years ago,” Paschke said. “We do beard trims, we do haircuts, we do shaves, the straight edge shaves.”
When you’re the owner of a business running since 1886, naturally, there’s a commitment to the past. Paschke bought the business 10 years ago becoming the sixth owner of the barber shop.
“It’s the oldest continually run shop in the state,” he said.
Paschke and his three barbers hold on to history in their service and technique.
“A lot of times, haircuts are how fast you can do it. In this case, we ask you what you want, can you show me a picture, we take the time to do it,” Paschke said.
“A lot of the older barber shops have not kept up with older traditions, the shavers and shaving around the ears,” said Don Beedle, a barber at Nate’s Barber Shop. “Shaving around an ear is not that big a deal, but at places I worked at in the past they avoided doing that because it took more time.”
The barbers take a vintage approach to service, but the real throwback is found in the shop’s atmosphere and ambiance.
“We like to give each other a hard time, joke around and stuff,” Beedle said.
“The atmosphere, it’s always a social experience,” said Tristan Blue, a customer.
The only sound more constant than the razor’s edge is the reaction from the latest one-liner. At Nate’s, anyone can find themselves on the receiving end of a joke, including the customers.
“I’m not expecting any problems from this but just in case I’ll give you a shot of Novocaine,” joked Beedle as he prepared to cut a customer’s hair.
“The cover charge is absolutely free, that’s why the jokes are so bad,” Paschke said.
Customers know they’re buying into much more than their haircut, but that’s part of the reason Nate’s brings in a constant client base every day.
“The point is, we’re trying to make it interesting for people. We’re not trying to put on something we’re not. We’re infusing ourselves into this,” Paschke said.
“I think what people like is that it’s different, yet we’re still doing things how they were done decades ago.”
Nate’s Barber Shop is first come, first served, no appointments needed.
To learn more about hours and location, click here.
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