Len’s Barber Shop ‘takes care of the customers’
For a quarter of a century, residents of New Milford and surrounding towns have flocked to Len’s Barber Shop.
Its family atmosphere, personable and experienced staff, and flexible hours are among the reasons patrons are loyal customers.
“For me, it’s the consistency of how they do business,” said customer Jeff Rondini.
“The first time (I was a customer) I had a great experience, and the second time, too. They’ve never let me down,” said Rondini, whose son Andrew, 13, is also a customer.
Len Kennan opened the shop on Railroad Street in New Milford in 1993, following a career as a car mechanic, and has since built a successful business rooted in family values. He co-owns the shop with his son, Chris.
“There’s so much to do downtown,” Kennan said of why the shop’s location is convenient and contributes to the business’ sense of community.
He noted how patrons can stop by the shop for a haircut, while also doing other errands such as getting a meal or cup of coffee at one of the local restaurants, catching a movie at Bank Street Theater or even dropping off their child for their dance class.
The shop specializes in men’s haircuts and styles, including fades and flattops, most women’s basic haircuts and styles, and beard trims.
Kennan learned the trade from his wife’s grandfather, Tony, a barber who was taught by his uncle and who opened his own shop at age 16. Kennan’s father-in-law, Phil, is also a barber.
That makes Chris, a graduate of Henry Abbott Tech who holds a degree in justice and law administration, a fifth-generation barber, who began sweeping hair from the shop floor at age 13.
“I like working with my hands and working directly with people, instead of being in an office,” Chris Kennan said of why he returned to the barber shop full time after taking off a few years to explore a career in the mortgage industry.
Being involved in a small business also brings personal satisfaction, said Chris, who became a co-owner about four years ago.
Two and a half years ago the shop moved from 28 to 26 Railroad St. The move increased the shop’s space from 400 to 800 square feet and enabled Len’s to bolster its staff, showcase its Paul Mitchell and American Crew lines, add an ATM and provide more space for customers.
“We have more staff and there’s no wait,” Chris said.
Walk-ins are welcome. Patrons are invited to jot their name down on a sign-in sheet if they request a certain barber.
“We listen,” Len Kennan said. “We cater to people’s wants. We don’t do cookie cutter haircuts.”
Jeff Hackett, one of the shop’s first customers, travels 40 minutes from his New York home to get a haircut at Len’s.
“(Len) understands the customer,” he said“It’s a quaint shop, he takes care of the customers and you have a good haircut.”
Len’s prides itself in quality staff, the majority of whom have been longtime employees.
The staff is “like family to us,” Len said.
Customers have ranged in age from four months to 102.
First haircut certificates and envelopes are available for families who want to mark the first haircut milestone.
The shop welcomes children with sensory issues. “We’ll bend over backwards to make it work,” Len said.
“It’s a friendly environment,” Rondini said. “More importantly, they give the customer a sense that they appreciate the business, and make the customer feel important.”
Len’s Barber Shop is located at 26 Railroad St. in New Milford. It is open Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., Tuesdays and Thursdays from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. and Saturdays from 7 a.m. to noon. For more information and specific barber hours, call 860-350-3731 or visit www.lensbarbershop.com.