When Darren Sam and Jimmy Rockenback met at Moler Barber School in Minneapolis, they became friends.
“I’ve been down several times from St. Paul, and fell in love with Redwood Falls, the Lower Sioux, and the surrounding areas,” Rockenback said. “The first time I visited, I said to Darren, ‘We’ve got to get a barber shop here.’”
The feeling was mutual.
“I said to Jimmy one day, ‘If I ever start my own barber shop, you have to be down here,’” said Darren.
On Feb. 15 of this year, Rockenback finally took Sam up on the offer.
Their new business, Kutt Boys barber shop, opened for business on July 6.
The two transformed the old laundromat on E. Bridge St. into a barber shop they say is still a work in progress.
The outside will soon gain a barber pole and awning, while the all-white interior will get a red-white-blue color scheme, pop machine, and more sports memorabilia on the walls.
Rockenback said, “We cater to the younger generation....”
“...but when we opened on Saturday morning, our first two customers were both over 50,” Sam pointed out.
How did Sams get into barbering?
“I used to cut my own hair, and experiment on my brothers and friends,” said Sam, who confirmed he’s tried being bald, too.
“I liked trying different styles and experimenting. One day, I was talking to Paul (Schroeder) and Trip (Leroy Triplett) about starting at barber school.”
Sam was working at Jackpot Junction at the time, and started the Moler Barber School in northeast Minneapolis shortly afterward.
Born in Minneapolis, Sam has been in and out of Redwood his whole life.
As for Rockenback, “I’m 30, but I feel so at ease in Redwood I don’t want to call it my retirement. I’ve been fishing more in the last two weeks than in all the years before.”
What does Sam like about being a barber?
“I just like being in the shop, helping the customers. I like meeting the different people, and finding out their backgrounds.”
Part of being a barber is giving small children their very first haircut. “I enjoy giving little kids their first professional haircut,” he said.
To the Kutt Boys, the atmosphere of a good, old-fashioned barber shop is as important as the haircuts and shaves.
“We want to have a friendly atmosphere, to have a place where you can come and unwind,” said Rockenback. “You don’t even have to get your hair cut. Just come in and shoot the breeze.”