Small Business Q&A: Mick's Barber Shop
This longtime Northeast Cobb business offers shop talk prediction on the outcome of U.S. presidential elections.
A bit of manual labor and a long pole are required to change the black letters on the tall, old-fashioned business sign in front of Mick’s Barber Shop on Canton Road. The current message promotes new manicure and pedicure services.
Owner Autumn Freer says past messages have been “Closed mouth gathers no foot” and “We don’t buy gold.”
The street side humor reaches back in history when barber shops were a place for men to come in, share jokes, and talk. Freer said lifestyles in 2012 allow limited barber shop time. Customers commit to everyday hustle and bustle and a full parking lot may make a prospective ‘walk-in’ keep driving, however, there still are moments when men, waiting for their turns in a barber’s chair, share perspectives on current topics, like the presidential election tomorrow.
Both Governor Mitt Romney and President Barack Obama have asked for Cobb residents’ votes and their campaigns have fostered political opinions in the local electorate.
“The majority of people who come in here are leaning towards Romney,” Freer shares, “I’m voting for Romney. As a small business owner, I think it’s a no-brainer.”
Freer explains that uncertainty about future federal taxes and President Obama’s health insurance law are primary issues straining consumer confidence in Cobb residents.
Customer John Holcomb owns a sheet metal business with eight on the payroll, he shares, “If Romney wins I’m going to have a big party, take all my employees out to lunch and buy them anything they want.”
Holcomb is retirement age and said he may close his 17 year-old business if President Obama is re-elected. “Why go through the hassle and stress of working if I can sit at home and collect from a social program and get by.”
Freer is optimistic that Holcomb will be picking up a lunch tab on Wednesday.
Freer and Holcomb have known each other since she started as a master barber at Mick’s in 1989. Freer has two barbers working for her as independent contractors, including Jim Gossett, the barber she bought the business from in 1996.
Gossett’s wife, Miriam, rents a room from Freer for her manicure and pedicure service.
As Freer cuts hair, she pays the bills and does maintenance on her free standing building when budget allows. A regular cut at Mick's is $14.
Q. What's the best thing about your job?
A. I was able to bring my daughter to work with me, starting when she was ten days old. Reagan, named after the president, is five now and in private school.
Q. What is the best thing about Northeast Cobb?
A. It’s safe. A good community to live in and, I do live nearby.
Q. Why did you choose to open your business in Northeast Cobb?
A. Our customers are here, this business was already started in a shopping center down the road and when the lease was up I found this place, it was a rental house. We bought it and converted it into a business.
Q. What are some of the services you offer that people may not know about?
A. The last week of October we started offering manicures and pedicures for men and women.
Q. How did your business get started?
A. Jim offered to sell it to me. He stayed and worked for me for five years then took a hiatus and now is back cutting hair.
I like the security of knowing my destiny. Owning a business, owning business property, gives you control of your future, as much as you can have.
I decided to be a barber when I was a senior at North Cobb High School. I participated in the work program and attended Georgia Barber College and then got a job at Mick’s.
Q. Do you have advice for anyone who'd like to start a small business in this area?
A. Don’t. Everything is too unsteady right now.
Q. Is there anything else you'd like our readers to know?
A. Stop by and get an old-fashioned haircut or, something new to the business, a manicure or pedicure. We give regular tapered haircuts, flat tops, buzz cuts. We know how to use clippers.
Autumn Freer, owner/master barber
Mick’s Barber Shop
2464 Canton Road