Local barber marks first year
Bruce Reyell’s clippers are still buzzing and his shaves are as close and smooth as ever. He’s survived one year in business — but it hasn’t been easy.
Big Lou's Barber Shop in Minneota got off to less than an auspicious start when he got caught smack dab in the middle of the Adams Street project that tore up the street in front of his home and business.
“Business was down last year when all the streets were torn up around here. There were basically no streets open to my shop from August to November.”
With the Adams Street Project a thing of the past, Reyell is looking to increase the traffic to his shop, which has undergone a face lift. “It just needed a change,” said Bruce Reyell, the owner of the barber shop that recently surpassed its first year in business.
“I did it more for myself than for my clients. I was looking at the same things in here every day and wanted to spruce up the place.”
Big Lou's Barber Shop, the nickname of his dog “Loucious”, is located on 109 N. Adams St. The 8 foot-by-18 foot shop is a heated and air-conditioned four-season porch located in his home. Shortly after opening for business on Aug. 9, Reyell proudly mounted a red, white and blue barber pole outside his shop that his stepfather Harold Haroldson gave him.
“Business has been okay, but I'd like to increase my clientele,” Reyell admitted.
Reyell’s recently completed a mini-renovation was in the waiting area, bringing in an “L”-shaped bench that is approximately five across in the front and six feet across in the back for use by customers.
“My mother (Gail Haroldson) and I got the benches from a place and painted them navy blue,” he said.
“They look nice in here. Before, I just had six chairs for customers to sit on. This looks better and is much more comfortable.”
The waiting area is generally for Saturday customers when Reyell allows “walk-in” customers from noon-4 p.m. “Haircuts and shaves are by appointment only on Thursdays and Fridays from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.,” he said.
“And then Saturdays anyone can come in without an appointment for a haircut.” “I don't do shaves on Saturday, though, because they take a little longer.”
Reyell also rearranged the artwork on his walls, allowing customers to view his licenses, certificate and diploma when they first come through the door at his shop. He also has photos of Big Lou and other photos and signs hanging up on the walls.
“I’m also planning to put up some ledges in to set my clipper guards on,” he said.
Reyell, who attended school in Minneota until seventh grade, got interested in cutting hair after receiving a “bad haircut” when he was 18 years old and living in New York.
“I went out the next day and bought some clippers,” he laughed. “I started cutting my own hair after that.”
“A lot of people liked my haircut and would ask me where I got it cut. When I told them I cut my own hair, they asked if I would cut their hair. That’s really how I got interested.”
Reyell spent 638 hours at Regency Beauty School in Blaine before enrolling at O’Brien-Aveda Barber School in Vermont, got his diploma, and eventually moved back to Minneota.
The 37-year-old bachelor currently has 26 reviews on his Big Lou’s Barber Shop Facebook page. All 26 gave him the highest five-star rating.
“Was not disappointed when we left Big Lou’s. Been looking for a quality barber shop for my boys for quite some time. Bruce did an awesome job. Definitely will be back,” was one recent review by Suzanne Knott.
Reyell has reasonable rates, too; $15 for a haircut, $15 for a two-step shave with a straight razor, or $25 for both. He also trims beards for $10. “This is the profession I chose because I really enjoy it,” he said.
“I’m very particular how I cut and shave. My shaves include several rotations of shave, foam and towel. My shaves last one to three days longer between shaves than a normal shave.”
Reyell also cuts simple designs into hair such as lightning bolts or lines. “I’m working on getting into more of that, too,” he said.
Gift certificates are now available from Big Lou’s Barber Shop.
Call 612-998-9942 for questions or to set up and appointment.