By LOU WILIN
Retiring barber Mike Wiechart, of Mike’s Barber Shop, 2606 N. Main St., gave his last haircut this week after 50 years in the business.
The passage of time and arrival of retirement sank in the night before.
“I laid in bed last night, trying to go to sleep. I could feel my heart pounding extra hard,” he said. “It was working on me.”
Wiechart, 69, knows he faces a big change.
“I’ve only had one week off in 50 years, so I don’t know how to do that,” he said.
But he has navigated much change in five decades.
When he started in 1967, the business was owned by Bob Mygrant. The Beatles were not only rocking the music world, but the popular culture as well. When the Fab Four grew longer hair, many men followed suit. The trend came to Findlay, too, causing hard times for many barbers.
“About half of the (barbers) in town went out of business, including Bob (Mygrant),” Wiechart said.
Wiechart bought the business from him.
For Wiechart, the turn of events was something of a boom.
“During the lean time for all of the other barbers, I went from a two-man shop down to a one-man shop, so I got double the business all at once,” he said. “While they were having lean times I was actually having good times.”
By the early 1980s, shorter hair returned to style for men and the entire barber industry returned to better times, Wiechart said.
But for all the change he has seen, Wiechart, in some ways, has not changed. As he sat in his barber chair, reflecting, his thermos of coffee stood on the back bar behind him. Despite decades of easily accessible coffee-to-go and the more recent cachet of high-priced, flavored coffees and lattes, Wiechart still brewed a daily pot of coffee at home for himself and his wife, Regina. He took some with him in the thermos.
Later in the morning, Regina heated up the rest in the microwave.
He said he will be kept busy in retirement with the hundreds of trees, including peach, apple, pear and cherry trees on his four-plus acres. He also grows rhubarb, asparagus, strawberries, black raspberries and grapes.
But it will be different.
“I’m going to miss all the guys,” Wiechart said.
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