You don’t need to talk to Olde Tyme Barber Shop owner Brian Mears to know how much he cares for his customers and the kids in Severna Park—it is apparent on the walls.
The local barbershop, which begins its 16th year in business on Nov. 1, recently remodeled the store to include hundreds of photos featuring more than 300 local athletes.
“There are over 300 pictures up there for every kind of sport imaginable,” Mears said. “Getting them up there was a big job because they all came in different sizes and frames. So we bought the frames from every Dollar Store in Anne Arundel County—we had to go to five or six stores to get them all.”
Mears coached Green Hornets sports for 10 years, so he has worked with most of the kids that line his walls and has stories to tell about many of them.
He talks about kids who have gone on to enlist in the Navy, Marines and Air Force. He tells a story of Loyola lacrosse superstar and Severna Park native Eric Lusby. He talks about kids who have battled tough times to succeed.
“I like to hang them up to let other kids know if they work hard, they can do the same,” Mears said. “Not everyone personally knows someone who has succeeded like some of these kids have, but if you come into a barbershop and see one of the kids gets his hair cut at the same place as you—you can do anything.”
Mears said he recently signed a new 10-year lease so Olde Tyme Barber Shop “is going to be here a long time.” In honor of the lease signing and the upcoming 16-year mark, the barbershop got a makeover with a new paint job, new cabinets, a new sign and, of course, the photos.
While Mears enjoys cutting hair—he went to barber school after he graduated from Severna Park High School—it’s the customers that make the experience worthwhile for him.
“The customers are all like friends. I know almost everybody that comes in and they have been coming for years,” Mears said. “Some kids I gave their first haircut they are now college graduates. It is exciting to see all their changes in life.”
Mears has lived in Severna Park his whole life. He now lives in Manhattan Beach and his children attend Severna Park schools. And he truly does know everyone. As he was talking with me, a woman getting out of her car in the parking lot distracted him.
“Oh, I went to prom with her,” he said with a laugh. “I really have been here a long time.”
Mears said he has been able to keep his business successful for all these years thanks to an economically priced $13 haircut. And most of the Olde Tyme Barber staff has been there for at least 10 years.
But even after all these years Mears is still humbled by the faithfulness of his customers.
“Most customers have been coming since we opened ... It is pretty amazing the loyalty we have,” Mears said. “And when new people come, it is because their neighbors referred them. It is pretty exciting to get customers that way—people think so much of us they tell others to come as well.”
Almost 16 years and a remodel later, it is still the pictures on the walls of the kids who’s lives he has touched that make the business worthwhile.
“It is such a great community to be a part of,” he said. “People like to focus on the negatives sometimes, but there are so many positives. Some of the kids that wrestled with me are in Navy, Army and Air Force—every field you could imagine. It is impressive. Why not share it with a picture?”