The red and white striped barber pole on the exterior of Williamston's Downtown Barber
provides the first hint of a shop steeped in tradition.
Pictures of hometown athletes, antique barber chairs, and a greeting area with drinks and candy for the kids adds to the local color of the 900-square-foot shop newly reopened under the management of Randy Kelly and his spouse, Nickie.
"You'll also see customers getting the hot towel and lather face shave," says Kelly. "And we have a lot of regulars who like to come in, hang out and talk. It's a true family barber shop."
Kelly jumped at the chance to purchase Downtown Barber when it went up for sale in early summer. After living and working in Southeast Michigan, the couple was eager to relocate to Mid-Michigan and to raise their growing family closer to their hometowns.
From August to the November grand opening, Kelly worked to create a business focused on community. As a former high school athlete with sports-minded kids, Kelly offers special cuts to school athletic teams—his most recent being playoff haircuts to the Williamston football and soccer teams.
"We did designs in their hair to boost their morale," says Kelly. "It's something that we want to keep going."
While Downtown Barber bills itself as a traditional barbershop for men and boys, Kelly says all family members are welcome.
"As barbers, we're trained in men's styles, and have dedicated training on how to use clippers and a straight razor," says Kelly. "Our attention is on the finer details of a man's hair cut, and not so much the chemical details like a cosmetologist might be."
Downtown Barber recently hired a second barber to serve customers. With 30 years of barbering experience, Jeanette Kruger can execute all the traditional barber cuts and modern styles, as well as provide the old-fashioned straight razor face shave.
"Plus, my son Maverick loves to ride his bike up here after school," says Kelly. "He likes to sweep, hand out suckers and candy, and really enjoys being a familiar face in the shop."
Source: Randy Kelly, Owner, Downtown Barber
Writer: Ann Kammerer, Development News Editor