Dad cuts son in on the barber business at Mich. shop

Dan Neilsen
Traverse City Record-Eagle

Beulah — Steve Radionoff knows that hair grows and can be cut into a series of styles. He also knows that careers can grow and curl in unexpected directions.

He used to own a bicycle and kayak shop in the Lapeer area. Then he sold the sports store, moved north, bought The Barber Shop in Benzie County and adjusted to styling hair for a living.

“My wife and I cut hair together for a few years,” he said.

Then Tammy Radionoff went back to school. She now works as a nurse. Their son Nick, one of the couple’s five children, went to barber school and joined Steve behind the barber chair about a year ago.

The shop, 216 S. Benzie Blvd., remained basically unchanged through all the career adjustments.

“We are a very traditional barbershop,” Radionoff said. “We don’t take reservations.”

Much of the shop’s clientele has traditionally been older men, Radionoff said. He and Tammy bought The Barber Shop in 2005. Father and son recently have been trying to attract a more diverse client base by offering new cuts that are popular with a different demographic.

“We’re marketing to a younger client base,” Radionoff said.

On a recent day, regular customer Peter Brown sat in one of the shop’s chairs as Nick trimmed his hair, beard and mustache. Brown said he stops in every two weeks for a touch-up.

While Nick was working in the barbershop, Radionoff was getting his hands dirty in the basement of the sports shop next door, where he assembles and repairs bikes.

Not long ago, Tammy and Steve spent time with a newborn grandchild in Colorado. When not attending to grandfatherly chores, Steve used yet another of his marketable skills to work as a ski instructor.

But last month, back in Beulah, his thoughts were far from the snowy slopes of the Rocky Mountains. He took a break from basement bicycle chores and sat on the bench outside the barbershop in Beulah’s business district. He soaked up some sun and enjoyed a moment of calm.

Perhaps he was thinking of the burst of energy delivered by the tourist season. Or perhaps he was wondering how many of the tourists who roll through Beulah this summer will stop in for a trim.