Millennia Barber Shop offers a unique barber shop atmosphere that has existed since the 1950’s.
Not only will you find good quality haircuts at Millennia Barber Shop, but you will also find great prices on our full line of haircare products. Look for Christmas specials coming in December.
Discount Offer: $1 off Redken liters. Must mention offer at the time of purchase. Not valid with any other offer. Expires Dec. 31st, 2016.
Today’s Cuts in Yesterday’s Chair
by Beth Steury
In 2015, Mark Baumer realized a dream nearly 20 years in the making.
He first became a business owner in 1997. After graduating from Masters of Cosmetology College in Fort Wayne and interning with several barbers, Mark launched Millennia Hair and Tanning on east Main Street in Berne, Indiana.
But really, this story begins many years earlier when Mark and his brother and sister trooped into his grandfather’s barber shop. “Mom would take us in there to get our hair cut,” Mark remembers fondly. His grandfather operated Murphy’s Barber Shop in Decatur, Indiana for more than 30 years.
After high school, while working at Fleetwood, Mark realized “the factory life wasn’t for me.” So, he decided to give barbering a try. With memories of visiting Grandpa’s shop lingering in his mind, he enrolled at Masters.
“When I started the salon in 1997, tanning was doing well,” he recalls. He put in long hours multi-tasking between cutting hair and operating the tanning beds at Millennia Hair and Tanning. Early on, Mark knew he’d made the right career decision.
He enjoyed his new line of work, and over the next ten years, his clientele grew. In 2005, Mark moved his business to Sprunger Street across from the Berne Public Library.
While operating the salon, Mark also worked part-time at various other jobs. It wasn’t easy, but the extra jobs allowed him to pursue his dream. “That’s how much I wanted to be in the hair-cutting business,” he says.
But, everything changed in 2015.
“Bill McKean was retiring,” Mark explains, “so he offered me his business. I’d always wanted to run a barber shop.” Mark was excited for the opportunity to operate a traditional barber shop as his grandfather had done.
So, he purchased the business from Berne’s mayor, as well as the building housing the barber shop on east Main Street, just half a block from where Mark had gotten his start. Two rental apartments, one upstairs and one in the back of the shop, were also part of the deal.
When asked about the difference between a barber shop and a hair salon, Mark responds, “The barber shop is more of an old-school, guys’ hang out. It has more of the traditional feel than a hair salon.”
Mark has enjoyed the change. “It was definitely a good career move.”
Over the past year, the customers of McKean’s Barber Shop and Millennia Hair and Tanning have blended together, as has the business’ name—Millenia Barber Shop. While Mark is happy—and qualified—to cut women’s hair, only a small percentage of his current customers are female.
From time to time, Mayor McKean stops by to check in on the business he operated for nearly 45 years. “There’s a long tradition of barbering in this building,” Mark says, “and I’m happy to keep that going.” Maynard Rich sold the barber shop to McKean in 1971.
Mark’s favorite part of his job is the socializing. “I like meeting people…engaging in conversation.” Almost every day, men drop by to chit-chat, as was common tradition for barber shops in years gone by. And, that’s a tradition Mark wants to encourage.
Millennia Barber shop continues to display some of the sports memorabilia that had graced the walls of McKean’s Barber Shop—namely, the pennants that recognize Indiana colleges. Mark has added additional items in honor of his own favorite, Notre Dame.
He also displays Star Wars memorabilia for two reasons: because he is a Star Wars fan himself, and because it’s a useful tool for calming down anxious youngsters. “Those first-time haircuts can be rough sometimes,” Mark admits. “It’s a challenge.”
His secret? “I’ve got candy and a box of toys.” If Dad goes first, the youngster can relax while playing with toys, become comfortable with the place, and then, the haircut is less painful for everyone involved.
While he estimates 50 to 60 percent of his clients are retired gentlemen, Mark makes a point to reach out to the younger generations through Facebook and with interaction in the community. Many of his clients remember coming in for a trim with their father in their growing up years.
Mark purposely keeps tabs on how today’s young men are wearing their hair. Some clients come in with a photo loaded on their smart phone. “That’s helpful,” Mark says, “especially for first-time customers.”
Another marketing strategy that’s worked well are the before and after photos he posts to the shop’s Facebook page when the client’s haircut is a dramatic change. “Only with the customer’s permission, of course,” he assures.
“I go to Swiss Village once a month and cut hair,” Mark adds. He is happy to bring his services to the men who would find it difficult securing a ride to the barber shop.
Mark enjoys the busy days—manning the telephone, cutting hair, and giving the occasional shave. He welcomes both walk-ins and advance appointments. Many of his regular customers prefer to stop by and enjoy watching the news, reading a newspaper, and chatting with the “guys” while waiting for their turn in the chair.
Millennia Barber Shop carries a full line of hair care products, including the following brands: Redkin, Paul Mitchel, Clubman and Bain de Terre. Business hours are 8:15 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Tuesday, Thursday and Friday; 11 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Wednesdays; and, 8:30 a.m. to noon on Saturdays.
When asked about plans for the future, Mark is quick to say, “It works well right here. I’m glad to be here. If it’s not broke, don’t fix it.” His goal has always been to “provide a quality hair cut that satisfies the customer so they want to come back again.”
Mark and his wife Wendy, a teacher at South Adams, live in Berne with their two children.
Check out the Millennia Barber Shop page for product promotions and the most recent “before and after” photos.