Michael Ian Farrell was aware of the risks he faced opening a business during a pandemic, but the opportunity was too good to refuse.
Two months ago Farrell, a veteran of the Victoria hairdressing scene, hung an open sign on Avenue Barber a new barbershop in Oak Bay Village.
“I wasn’t about to open a shop to but this spot came up, and it was too good to pass up, it’s fantastic,” Farrell said. “It’s really hard to find a good location.”
The store is next to Cobs Bread, in the former space used by Individual Dry Cleaners, which has moved next door.
And so far, business is great, he said, with people coming in from Cobs’ daily lineups, passersby, and also regulars who followed from his previous stop.
Farrell works full time with one employee. They have a third chair ready for when the time comes.
Many will recognize Farrell, who has been cutting hair since 1980 and ran the Out of the Blue hair salon in Fernwood Square in the 1990s. It was on the side of the building that was the George and Dragon pub, which is now the Fernwood Inn.
But Farrell’s other career, in film, became too busy and in 2012 he stopped cutting hair altogether.
Farrell acted, wrote and directed short films and also showed up as an actor in scenes of films that he was a location manager for. He also directed about a dozen music videos.
Being a location manager was demanding enough that he eventually thought again about getting his own hairdressing salon, this time a barbershop.
Farrell’s Scottish roots are imprinted on the store. Visitors will notice a big-screen television with golf and sports (not uncommon in a barbershop) but also a putting green. Customers can enter in the monthly contest for a dozen golf balls and a lesson at the Blenkinsop Driving Range. The store’s emblem is a spin on a soccer team crest.
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