The Free Press, Mankato, MN

Local News

October 26, 2009

Barber shop to survive retirement

Dan moves on, shop will remain

MANKATO — slideshowClick here to see a photo gallery from Dan's Barber Shop.

slideshowClick here to listen to an audio slideshow of Dan's Barber Shop produced by MSU professor Dave Engen at Voices From the Valley.

It’s a weekday morning and Dan’s Barber Shop, as usual, is humming with bullroar.

Bad Viagra jokes, hunting stories, sports chat, bemoanings about assorted ailments, insult humor. It’s all here, with topics changing on the fly as men come and go.

Another longtime customer comes through the door:

“Anyone know if there’s a barbershop around here?” the man says.

A middling quip at best, but barbers Dan Quaderer and Mark Weingartz give the guy his due and laugh anyway.

Dan’s is a real barber shop. Not too many of those around anymore. In fact, haircuts here conclude with a hot lather and razor cleanup around the ears.

The barbers take pride in that.

“It’s an old-fashioned practice that’s fallen by the wayside,” Weingartz says.

Come Oct. 31, Quaderer also will fall by the wayside, so to speak. He’s retiring after 45 years of plying his trade at his namesake business, which will barber on under Weingartz’s ownership.

Quaderer and his wife will head to Arizona, where they’ve spent portions of winters the past few years.

He’ll be back in spring, when he’ll help break in his replacement, perhaps giving him the same advice Quaderer’s old barbering instructor proffered decades ago.

“He said there are three things a barber shouldn’t do: Don’t talk religion, don’t talk politics, and never say ‘whoops.’”

Quaderer opened his barbershop in the brand new Belle Mar Mall in 1964.

He’s the mall’s longest continuous merchant, but when he started his business as a 24-year-old, anxiety took hold.

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