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Barber Jon opens doors

Barber Jon Stone is opening his own shop downtown Detroit Lakes. An open house will be held Saturday for the public to come see the new shop and what it has to offer. His official opening date is Tuesday. PAULA QUAM/DL NEWSPAPERS

For 17 years, Jon Stone has been making the men of Detroit Lakes look their best up top.

“This is a great profession,” he says, leaning against his barber shop chair.

In fact, throughout the years, people around town have come to know Stone as “Barber Jon,” as he has been working out of his own spot within Jim’s Barber Shop on Washington Avenue since the beginning of his career.

But now, Stone is opening up his own shop on 214 Front Street West in Detroit Lakes — and it’s one that better reflects who he is.

Like the red and white barber pole that turns and twists until its colors seem intertwined, Barber Jon’s has its own, unique merger of old and new.

The barber shop, which is set to open Tuesday, Oct. 22, somehow combines a relaxed, old-fashioned atmosphere you’d expect in a classic barber shop from years ago with some modern conveniences many have grown accustomed to today.

“We’ll have free WiFi,” said Stone, who also holds a degree in computer programming.

Just above the shiny black and white checkered floor and next to the big, made-for-men barber chair are outlets compatible with USB connections.

“Those are for different charging capabilities,” Stone said, adding that technology has changed everything, including what people want in a barber shop.

That means despite the fact that many old-fashioned barber shops only deal in check or cash, his will also take credit or debit cards.

Stone says his wife, Joy, teases him about finally having his “Man Cave.”

“And I do because we’ve got a TV, a fireplace, a radio, a refrigerator, a coffee maker, a popcorn machine…” said Stone, showing off an old, wooden game table with a checkers board that he hopes will get used.

“I hope that when dad comes in with his son, or grandpa with his grandson, or mom with the boys — whatever — I hope it’s something that years from now they’ll remember going to the small town barber shop and playing checkers while waiting or having a bag of popcorn or watching the game,” said Stone. “I want it to feel like … family.”

And speaking of family, Stone’s two sons, Jon and Josh, have already broken in dad’s new barber shop.

“They were in here last night to be the first ones to get haircuts in here,” he said.

The Lake Park-Audubon area native says he and his family have come to love Detroit Lakes over the years, and Stone is happy he chose the low-tech profession.

“For 15 minutes or however long it takes to cut that person’s hair, you get to kind of be a part of somebody else’s life,” he said. “And you get  to hear what’s going on in that person’s life that day. It’s a great opportunity to get one-on-one time with people and just get to know them.”

Stone says some of those people he’s gotten to know from the barber chair are the same guys who he ended up hiring to do the build-out for his shop.  Keeping it local, he said, was important to him.

Stone, who is already getting calls from clients wondering when he opens, will not be taking appointments for haircuts, those will only be walk-ins.

Cuts for both boys and men will be $12 across the board.

He will, however, take appointments for shaves and beard or mustache trims — an aspect of the profession that is almost lost and has become very difficult to find.

With the straight edge razor, Stone says the shaves are usually around a half hour process where men have to be willing to sit back and relax.

“First you have to soften the whiskers up, so there’s a series of two or three hot towels with shaving cream,” said Stone. “And then there’s the shave, which I don’t want to rush, and then another hot towel and some cream.”

Stone says he’s gotten a lot of men who’ve asked him about this service over the years.

“They’ve just said they thought it’d be cool to try it,” he said, adding that there are also older gentlemen who’ve asked for it because shaving has become difficult for them.

“And it sure is close,” he said. “Where most men have to shave every day, with this you usually get a couple days before you start feeling it,” said Stone, who is very informed on the health and safety issues that come along with barber shops.

Former Gov. Tim Pawlenty appointed him to the Minnesota board of barber examiners nearly four years ago.

He is one of only four barber professionals that make up the board, which is charged with regulating the tests that certify new barbers, as well as keeping tabs on the health and safety of the 900-plus barber shops in Minnesota.

He says although his term is up at the end of the year, he plans to put his application back in to remain on the board.

In the meantime though, he’s busy getting his own shop ready for prime time.

Barber Jon’s will be holding an open house this Saturday, Oct. 19, from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m.

The Detroit Lakes Regional Chamber of Commerce will be on-hand for a ribbon cutting, as will the priest from Stones’ church.

“He offered to come down and bless it, so I figure I can use all the help I can get,” laughed Stone.

There will also be hot dogs from Hoffman Meats, as well as door prizes — including Minnesota Vikings tickets.

For more information on Barber Jon’s, call 234-1434 or log on to