MARSHALL - When he was laid off from his construction job, Steve Peppin decided to give barber school a try.
"My buddy wanted to go to barber school, so I went with him," Peppin said.
And now he's expanding his business to Marshall.
Photo by Sara Dolan
Steve Peppin, owner of Pep’s Barbershop and Salon, left, is opening a second location in Marshall. Peppin is pictured with Chelsea Pettis, assistant manager of the Marshall site and Darcy Byer, manager of the Marshall location.
Pep's Barbershop and Salon is opening a new shop in Marshall this Friday in the former Davis building. Peppin's had a location in Willmar for the past seven years.
Peppin said he selected Marshall as a site because both communities have some similarities.
"In my opinion, Marshall and Willmar have a lot in common," Peppin said. Southwest Minnesota State University is here, for example, he said. For years, Peppin's supported the Willmar community, sponsoring youth sports, and athletic programs at Ridgewater College. He intends to do the same in Marshall.
Peppin became a barber more than seven years ago. He was working in construction for awhile and when he was laid off, he went to barber school and received his master barber license.
Peppin worked as a barber in several places in the Twin Cities before he came to Willmar. He wanted to play college football and basketball. He went to Ridgewater College, worked at a salon and did his football teammates' hair in the locker room. He said that he'd have three to four guys wanting to get their hair cut at a time.
He started thinking about opening his own shop while he was still in school. And with support from his family, Peppin opened his first shop in Willmar in July 2005.
Peppin wanted to have a certain kind of atmosphere in his shop, one he would want when he was getting his hair cut. He installed leather couches and big-screen televisions tuned to ESPN. He said he wants his customers to feel like family.
Peppin said he does specialty cuts, including high and tights, flat tops and fades.
"I do a lot of designs too, stars and logos," Peppin said. Colors, perms and highlights are also offered at Pep's.
Customers even came from as far away as Marshall to the Willmar shop. Peppin said people who weren't getting their hair cut would stop in.
"(Sometimes) they just want to be there and chat," Peppin said.
Peppin hired Darcy Byer as manager and Chelsea Pettis as the assistant manager of the Marshall location. Peppin is splitting time between the Marshall and Willmar shops, spending three days a week at each location. He also hired a couple more people in Willmar.
"I make them feel like they're part owner," Peppin said.
Peppin also plans on painting the Marshall shop in SMSU and Marshall High School colors and will put sports memorabilia on the walls.
Byer and Pettis visited the Willmar location before joining Pep's staff. They said they were both looking forward to a great new opportunity and liked what they saw.
"It was just a fun atmosphere," Byer said about the Willmar location.
"It was very energetic, extremely energetic," Pettis said.