Forget power lunches. Skip the golf course. If you want to rub shoulders with executives and players in the business scene, the surest bet these days is the barber chairs at Marty’s, in the back of North Loop men’s store MartinPatrick 3. Chef Gavin Kaysen, marketing guru Michael Francis, and Best Buy chairman and CEO Hubert Joly are among the local elite who’ve been spotted there.
The barber shop was added to the men’s store two years ago. “The original thought was to add the service for customers, and also keep guys returning every so often for a fresh cut,” says co-owner Greg Walsh (MP3 is co-owner as well).
He and partner Dana Swindler called Jon Charles, who operates eponymous full-service salons in Uptown and Wayzata but is no stranger to partnering with retailers. Back in the late ‘90s, when Best Buy experimented with a wellness shop called EQ Life, Charles was hired to create an in-store salon. “It was like finishing school,” Charles says. “I learned how to be a department, not the whole thing. I need to support the whole team—we have a brand to uphold.”
It makes sense that that the hottest men’s store would house the hottest retro barbershop. Booking 70 appointments in a day is not unusual, Charles says. Business has been so brisk that MartinPatrick 3 recently expanded Marty’s from two to five chairs and moved it from the front to the back of the 22,000-square-foot store. Because Walsh is an interior designer, he pored over every detail: a custom mosaic floor, wallpaper from Andrew Martin in London, classic hanging globe fixtures at each station, and of course, the Cadillac of barbershop chairs.
The most popular service is “The Marty”—a quickie, no-shampoo haircut with a hot neck lather. Marty’s also books several shaves each day, a service Charles tried to revive a decade ago at his former barber shop, Schmitty’s, but which never caught on in the shop’s beer-and-pool-table atmosphere. “I think it’s the vibe at Marty’s,” says Charles. “It’s brass. It’s that bay rum smell. You walk in and it’s like you’ve gone back in time.” That includes barbers with nicknames like “Mustache Jim,” who might seem of another era but command a very modern and loyal fan base.
You’re likely to overhear important conversations any day of the week at Marty’s, but Charles says CEOs go for haircuts on Friday afternoons. “If you’re still working after noon on a Friday,” Charles says, “you’re not in leadership.”