MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — Back in the day, if a guy needed a quick trim, some good conversation, or a good laugh, all you had to do is go to town and find that mesmerizing barber pole, and you knew you were in a place where a guy can be a guy.
Two brothers — Mike and Kevin Villaran — spent their childhood on the East Coast, but now make up the entire staff at Mike’s Barber Shop in Red Wing.
Their story, like any good story, has taken a few twists and turns.
“I was an automotive service technician for about 13, 14 years,” Mike said. “And when the economy downturned, I ended up out of a job and looking for a career.”
As fate might have it, Mike’s search for his calling ended in a barber’s chair.
“I was getting my hair cut one day by a couple of old barbers that are retired now, Jerry and Larry, and I don’t know, they kind of sold me into becoming a barber,” Mike said.
After barber school, Mike moved to Red Wing, where he cut hair in a couple of different shops.
“About five years ago I opened up my own business,” he said. “I started as a one-man shop and I got busier than one person could handle here. My brother Kevin got out of the military. We knocked the wall out and added a second station.”
Kevin says he loves coming to work
“I get to hang out with pretty much my best friend every day, when it comes down to it,” Kevin said.
Mike says their building has a lot of history.
“This building initially was a livery stable,” he said. “Had an old guy in here tell me that one day, he said, ‘This place it used to be full of horse crap, now it’s full of bull crap!'”
That is to be expected, but it’s Mike’s and Kevin’s attention to detail that keeps the chairs full day in and day out, like knowing the customers, to the straight-razor neck shave that’s included with every cut.
But perhaps the coolest thing I’ve ever experienced in a barber chair — the old-style genie rub.
So the next time you’re in Red Wing and you’re looking for a shave or a haircut, just look for the barber pole and stop in.
“I’ve been here for a while and I don’t think I would want to live anywhere else,” Mike said.
It looks like these East Coast “hair transplants” are going to be here for a while.
It’s first-come-first-served at Mike’s, and they’re closed Sundays and Mondays like other traditional barber shops. A cut with all the perks is just $15.