by Stephen Dafoe
Morinville – There is a new full-service barber in town, one who brings with him 40 years worth of experience standing behind his barber chair. Mike Aboudib opened Mike’s Barber Shop at the beginning of April in the former M&M’s Hair Design location on 100 Street, next to Kelley’s Deli and Bakery.
“I’m a master barber. I’ve been at it for 40 years,” Aboudib said of his profession, adding his shop offers a full range of barber services, including hot shaves. “I enjoy it. This is the only job I’ve done all my life.”
Long history of barbering
Aboudib’s path to his trade began at the age of 12 when he began sweeping up hair in a barber shop in his native Lebanon. As he became more familiar with the shop and the trade over the years, his employers let him try his hand at cutting hair. He was only 15 when he first put scissors to hair and as he continued to ply his trade over the next two years, Aboudib’s interest in starting his own barber shop grew. He was 17 when he decided to go out on his own, but the young barber had the full support of his family.
“My dad was a very soft person. He said ‘I’m not going to push you to be a doctor or be a lawyer. Who’s going to do the other jobs. Follow your heart and choose what you want,” Aboudib recalled, adding his father supported him in his wish to enter into the trade as an entrepreneur. “My father was a farmer. He pushed me to do what I wanted and when I was ready, he helped me.”
The barber carries the pride of that first shop, opened in Lebanon in 1972. On the wall of his Morinville business is a photo taken 42 years ago, a man lathered with shaving cream in the chair, the proprietor standing straight razor in hand ready to serve. Aboudib has maintained and continued that sense of service wherever he has cut hair.
Aboudib came from Toronto to Alberta in 1980, first settling in Slave Lake but eventually moving to Edmonton when his children went to university in the city. The life-long barber had a shop in a mall in Fort Saskatchewan for eight years and later worked in Edmonton and St. Albert. “I found out most of the people we do in St. Albert came from Morinville Legal, Bon Accord and Alexander,” Aboudib said, adding he began looking for an opportunity to serve customers closer to their home.
Initially the barber had some trouble finding a location suitable for a shop because available commercial space was much larger than needed. However, when M&M put their business up for sale, Aboudib found a location that was the right size, in the right place and at the right time.
Full service shop
Mike’s Barber Shop will have its grand opening sometime in mid-May, but the barber is open for business now, offering his clients a variety of styles and services, everything from flattops to streaks and hot shaves. The latter offering is something Aboudib said was popular in barber shops in the 1970s but is making a resurgence today. “People love it,” he said. “It’s a real luxury and it feels good. It’s a beautiful feeling.”
Walk-ins are always welcome. Mike’s Barber Shop is open Monday to Friday from 9:30 a.m. to 6 p.m. and on Saturdays from 9:30 a.m. to 5 p.m.