Marion barber returns to his roots

Mike Darrow gives a customer a “high and tight” haircut Thursday at Mike’s Barber Shop in Marion. A 2003 graduate of Marion High School, Darrow opened his shop in May 2015.
Mike Darrow gives a customer a “high and tight” haircut Thursday at Mike’s Barber Shop in Marion. A 2003 graduate of Marion High School, Darrow opened his shop in May 2015.
For Mike Darrow, owning a barber shop in Marion meant a return to his roots.

A 2003 graduate of Marion High School, Darrow opened Mike’s Barber Shop in May 2015. He bought the shop from Bill Holdeman, replacing Holdeman’s moniker with his own.

“(Bill) came up to my (barber) school—he was 91 when I took over—so he was ready to retire,” Darrow said. “It worked out pretty good because I was born and raised here in Marion.”

Darrow attended Old Town Barber College in Wichita. The year-long program included a combination of classroom learning and hands-on application.

“You’ve got 30 days in a classroom, going over the fundamentals,” he said. “Then they give you your barber bag and they set you out in this big room, and people come in off the streets and they set them in your chair.”

Types of cuts

At Mike’s Barber Shop, Darrow said he specializes in flat top haircuts—hair is cut close to the skin on the sides and flat on top—something Holdeman was known for as well.

“That’s one of the things I was nervous about because that was (Bill’s) specialty, and he had people that followed him the whole time he was a barber just to get their flat tops,” Darrow said. “But all (of) them have been really good at letting me learn on their haircuts, so now I think I’m pretty good at them.”

Another popular cut is the “high and tight.”

“A lot of guys that are in the military still, whenever they have drill on the weekend, they’ll come and pretty much get (the high and tight) haircut,” Darrow said. “That’s one of my specialties, I guess you could say.”

Darrow said he mainly performs three or four types of haircuts, adding that designs are popular with his younger clientele, ranging from stars to lightning bolts to tribal designs.

“I’m not really good at just making up my own designs,” he said. “So if somebody brings me in a picture, then I can kind of trace it out in my mind.”

While Darrow cuts mostly men’s hair, he said he does do undercut designs for women.

“I have some girls come in here, and they get that undercut thing with little designs in it,” he said. “That is pretty nerve-wracking. It’s way more nerve-wracking on a girl because they seem so much pickier.”

Darrow uses a combination of electric clippers and scissors and dabbles in straight razor shaving as well. He said a typical haircut takes about 20 minutes.

Located at 412 E. Main, Mike’s Barber Shop is open from 9 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Tuesday through Friday and 9 a.m. to noon on Saturday. Contact Darrow at the shop at 620-382-3750.

Darrow and wife Chelsea have three children. He said he plans to stay in Marion.

“I haven’t lived here my whole life—I moved away for awhile and ended up coming back,” he said. “(I’m) planning on staying.”

Darrow said his favorite part of running the barber shop is talking with his clients.

“I like the small town,” he said. “The people are always nice, and I pretty much know everybody.”