MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — Did you know Minnesota was the first state to pass a barber law in 1897? By 1902, nearly 2,500 barbers were licensed.
One shop near Minnesota’s State Capitol building in St. Paul sees history being made most days of the week. The barber shop’s own history goes back to 1932.
Josh Kirkpatrick is Capitol Barbers newest owner. It’s how he’s keeping this business in the family that makes him a Minnesotan to Meet.
Whether it’s a cut or a shave, Capitol Barbers really is their home away from home for Josh Kirkpatrick and his father, Ken.
“I came in especially if I needed a haircut,” said Josh Kirkpatrick, who says now his two children do the same, “they love coming down here and seeing papa.”
Ken Kirkpatrick owned the shop for 44 years before selling it to his son.
“This is my third career,” Josh Kirkpatrick said, “I started out as a radio DJ, managed a bar for a couple of years. I really enjoyed working in the bar and being a people person, but the things I enjoyed about bartending I realized my dad did as a barber.”
Since taking over, Josh Kirkpatrick implemented social media accounts and customers can now book online, something he said his dad never did.
“We still offer straight razor shaves, facials, specialize in men’s haircuts and we do have a stylist that works with us,” Josh Kirkpatrick said.
His dad still sticks to his paper book, even in retirement.
“It’s great. I get Mondays and Fridays off and I get just enough haircuts on Tuesdays, Wednesdays, Thursdays,” Ken Kirkpatrick said.
Their motto is “classic service meets modern style” and when the political climate gets heated, the Kirkpatrick family just focuses on the task at hand.
“We are kind of stuck in the political world whether we like it or not,” said Josh Kirkpatrick. “I think you just have to be yourself. You try not to let your own views and opinions get engrained in conversations. You never – well, you can’t really — take sides.”
“A highlight was having Jim Thome as a client for a while,” said Josh Kirkpatrick.
For his dad, the list of Minnesota leaders is long.
“I got here when Wendell Anderson was governor, Rudy Perpich, Tim Pawlenty,” said Ken Kirkpatrick, listing off Minnesota’s governors, “I didn’t cut Jesse Ventura’s hair, but he did you give an award while he was governor, which was pretty nice.”
And as you would expect, like father like son. They both said it’s not just about the cut, but the conversation that keeps them wanting to keep the family business alive.
“I’m such a people person and I have a lot of memories of being in the shop and meeting new people,” Josh Kirkpatrick said.
“People you meet: everyone from the janitors to the governor,” said Ken Kirkpatrick.
The barber shop is located on 100 Rev Dr Martin Luther King Jr Blvd, in the basement of the State Office Building across the street on the west side of the State Capitol Building.