Passing the keys to the barber shop

Mayor Todd Fiandt, longtime owner of the Hair Shed in Garrett, passes the keys to new barber Kody Poyser, who began working at the shop Jan. 2.

GARRETT — A few weeks ago, Mayor Todd Fiandt was concerned that closing his barber shop in downtown Garrett at the end of the year might leave a dark store in the community.

The barber pole will keep spinning outside the Hair Shed, however. Kody Poyser unlocked the doors Jan. 2 as the new barber in town.

Poyser, 24, is a 2014 graduate of Churubusco High School and 2015 of Ravenscroft Beauty College after completion of its 1,500-hour barber program. Prior to taking over at the Hair Shed, he worked at Lakeland Barber Shop in Angola for about a year.

He comes from a family of barbers and beauticians, and first worked for his in-laws in Churubusco. It was through a friend of the family that Poyser learned of the opportunity in Garrett.

“I thought, it never hurts to look — and I loved the place!” he said of the location which is much closer to his home in Churubusco where he lives with wife, Shelby, a nail technician, and daughter Bella Rose, age 15 months.

“It’s somewhere I can actually see myself for the next 41 years,” Poyser said of his goal to work to age 65. He also met Fiandt’s predecessor, LeRoy DeLong. Poyser also hopes to buy a house in Garrett in the next year or two.

Poyser contracted to rent the space from Fiandt with plans to buy the business later. For a week before he took over, Poyser hung out at the shop, meeting and greeting the steady stream of customers at what he refers to as “man’s last retreat.”

“People are taking to me kindly, so that’s always nice,” Poyser said. Many customers are already in the appointment book this month.

Poyser is trying to keep costs close to current rates. “I don’t want customers to freak out,” he said.

With 40 years in age between the two barbers, Poyser acknowledged a different upbringing in the way they were instructed in the trade. “We graduated in different eras,” he said.

Poyser said he really likes to do the new-style comb-overs with hard parts, and is excited that mullets are making their way back, having done quite a few while in Angola.

“I love beard trims — any excuse I have to break out the straight razor,” he added.

He has been spending a lot of time in local diners, learning about Garrett and the Railroaders, and hearing a lot about a few local guys he is ready to meet.

“I’m ready to hear the stories,” he said.

Some of his Angola customers said they plan to come down to Garrett. While he looks forward to familiar faces, he is excited to meet the new ones, as well.

Poyser has added his own spin to the shop, posting Atlanta Braves, Green Bay Packers, Chicago Bears and Chicago Cubs memorabilia, while some of Fiandt’s extensive Notre Dame collection will still be on display.

“I think he is going to do quite well,” Fiandt said, who will be working full time as mayor after 43 years at the Hair Shed.

During his first term in office, he split his hours between the two jobs.

Extended hours at the shop are 8 a.m.-5 p.m. Tuesday through Friday and 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday. Appointments can be made at 260-357-4191.

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