When you walk into Popular Demand Barber Shop at 516 Boston Post Road you immediately get the feel of a gentlemen’s neighborhood gathering place.
Unlike many bustling beauty salons, you won’t see dozens of hood dryers lining the walls or smell perm solution, rather just guys “chillin’” getting their hair cut by other guys.
The location is nice, right next to Wild Acorns and across from Bob’s Discount Furniture.
The owner, Patrick Doll, 28, came from a family of barbers, tracing as far back as his great-grandfather.
Patrick began cutting hair as a hobby. His friends depended on him for a fresh cut before important school events and such and as his reputation grew, he was given an opportunity to work in a shop 8 years ago. He was told to get his license in order to become part of a business in Milford.
His clientele grew, then he left Milford 2.5 years ago to help at the Alberino Barber Shop in Clinton. But after 6 months he found that area wasn’t so busy and he missed his old clients.
A friend in West Haven gave him the opportunity to rent a chair in his shop for 2 years where he built up his clientele again to the point where he had a full book and was working from opening to well past closing time and often his clients couldn’t get in because the shop was so busy.
“I asked myself, why not open my own shop and keep my customers?” Doll said. “I searched for a place on Loopnet.com (a real estate website) and found this one in Orange, it seemed like the perfect size.”
Doll wasn’t looking forward to getting a hard sell from a real estate agent, and was pleasantly surprised to find out that the building was owned by Jim Kaoud, whom he met for a tour of the place.
“At first I noticed there wasn’t a lot of parking in front, but then he showed me a huge parking lot out in back with plenty of parking,” he said.
The square footage would give him enough space for 8 chairs, and plenty of room to grow.
After acquiring all the necessary permits and approvals, he began scouring the internet for furnishings and he and a friend, and family members did all the work inside.
Why a Barber Shop?
When Patrick went to hair school, the barber shop was on the verge of extinction and he didn’t want to open a salon.
“The barber shop was the place to go. Women have salons and nail spas, etc, but men needed a place of their own,” he said.
Patrick said, his shop is strictly a barber shop.
“It’s a classic barber shop with nice barber chairs, a barber pole (in the back), a place where you can come for a hot towel shave. It’s the gentlemen’s way to relax,” he said. “This is more authentic than a chain, we focus on fade, taper and crew cuts. We’ve done some kids, but not many yet.”
The shop officially opened on October 3. Currently Doll has two employees Hector Malave from the Milford area and Joe Savenelli from North Haven.
The shop is open Sunday 9-2; Tues, Weds, Thurs and Fri from 9-7; Saturday 8-5; Closed Monday.
Where’d the name come from?
Patrick said he chose the name because he started his career in this area, built up a customer base, then moved away and came back by “Popular Demand.”
His friends came up with graphics for the walls and windows, one large wall painting depicts a barber pole incorporated with the initials P.D. — both for Popular Demand and his name, Patrick Doll.
Stop by for a hot lather shave and a haircut today and see what the “buzz” is all about.