My On the Ground Farmington story about Korner Barbers

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Photo by David Lewinski

Businesses come and go, but in downtown Farmington, a handful of merchants have weathered decades of economic and technological shifts, establishing themselves as tried-and-true anchors of this vibrant, small-town community.

To celebrate these beloved local institutions, Metromode’s On the Ground Farmington project has been publishing a Fixtures of Farmington series, whereby we shine a spotlight on these businesses’ owners; chronicle each venture’s origin story; and gather insights on how and why these businesses, after so many years, continue to thrive.

This week, we focus on one of Farmington’s most enduring businesses, Korner Barbers, where customers who first came as boys now bring their own children and grandchildren.

Before Korner Barbers opened in 1963, and staked its claim at the intersection of Grand River and Farmington Rd., its building had been a dry goods store; a general store; Grimes Cleaners; a jewelry store; and, for a brief time, a Republican campaign office during an election year.

But these days, most of us can’t imagine a time when the space didn’t house a series of classic barber chairs.

Owner Dan Klawender started working at Korner Barbers in 1967, when he was just 19 years old.

“To this day – and my wife would tell you this, too, she’ll say, ‘He still loves getting up every day and going to the barber shop,’” says Klawender, who also noted that the conversations he has with his customers, and the connections that result, are what keep his job enjoyable.

What started Klawender on this path?

“When I was growing up, my dad cut my hair, and I thought, ‘Well, if he can do it, so can I,’” said Klawender, who grew up in Farmington. “And I liked doing it. … I used to cut a lot of my buddies’ hair. Back when I worked at a Clark Gas Station, I’d sometimes cut my friends’ hair in the bathroom.” READ THE REST HERE

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