ATLANTIC – Mike Mikkelsen was probably like a lot of other kids when he was growing up. He was born and raised at his home about two miles west of Kimballton.
He grew up on a farm, and his family grew corn, oats and hay, and they raised cows, horses, chicken and pigs.
After he graduated from high school at Elk Horn, he worked for a veterinarian, as well as doing some construction jobs and also hauled eggs to a hatchery.
“I really (wanted) to be a veterinarian, but I didn’t have that kind of money for school,” he said.
So instead he decided to go to the Iowa Barber College, and that was in 1957. He spent six months in barber school, and then started working at the “the Hub Shop in 1958. That was the barber shop on the main street (in Atlantic). There was five of us in that shop when I started.”
He said at that time barbers who just graduated had to work with someone who already had a barber shop for a certain amount of time before they could open their own shop. Mikkelsen worked there for six years, and then opened his own shop, which is in the same building today — at 9 East Fourth Street in Atlantic — as it was over 50 years ago.
These days, he’s open 8 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. on Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and
Friday, and 8 a.m. to noon on Saturday. He’s closed on Wednesday and
Sunday, but when he started working at the other barber shop, his hours were a lot different.
“We’d start at 8 o’clock in the morning, and we go to (until we closed) at 5 o’clock, but sometimes it may be 6 o’clock until we got out of there,” he said. “And of course Saturday night, it would 9 or 10 o’clock. We were always open Saturday nights. so we’d put in a long day.”
Mikkelsen said he offered, “a lot of shaves, shampoos, facials and haircuts” at the shop, and these days he just offers haircuts, and trims beards. He gets customers from all over about a 40 or 50 miles radius, and he said, he doesn’t make a lot of appointments for people-usually they just drop in to the shop.
“(It’s just) first come, first served,” he said. “”They drive by, and if I’m busy they go on (and come back later).”