Redefining the barbershop: Old Town offers a new take on an old profession

Roberto Campos

Not quite a barbershop, not quite a salon – USI alumni Nick Goodman stands at the cash register in an establishment he dreamed of creating, a place where he could offer the service of cutting hair in an old Americana atmosphere.

A place called Old Town.

Located on Second Street in Downtown Evansville, Old Town rests in the historic part of the city it tries to replicate.

“When envisioning Old Town I was shooting for a place that men and women can feel comfortable in, and we’ve gotten that reaction from our customers so far,” Goodman, owner of Old Town, said. “The feel of this this place is very old Americana, … a kind of mom and pop shop feel with a splash of rock ‘n’ roll.”

Goodman greets a walk-in client and invites him to take a seat in an antique barber’s chair. With clippers in hand and The White Stripes playing in the background, he begins to give the client the Old Town experience.

“I want Old Town to be a place where you had some fun and afterwards you feel like you want to go out on the town, not a place where you want to take a nap,” Goodman said.

The Evansville native opened the shop in January after moving back to Evansville from Portland, Ore., two and a half years ago with his wife to pursue his dream of creating his own business.

“Older Evansville was a huge influence of mine when coming up with this shop,” Goodman said.

“Throughout college I did a lot of restoration work on all of these houses downtown and I always wanted to own one of these houses. I’d find old pictures of these houses for restorations and really got a feel for how amazing this city was in back in the day.”

Goodman purchased one of those houses he always wanted to own and decided to not only use it as a home to start his family but also as the location for Old Town. He used his carpentry skills to restore the house in the image of older Evansville to pay homage to it.

“Old Town is like a vinyl record – it’s vintage and is the best quality you can get,” Allie Lowe, beauty school student, said. “It’s a place that helps give life back into Downtown Evansville and reflects the rich history that it has.”

While renovating the house and working with the city to convert his business into a legal operating establishment Goodman taught at Salon Professional Academy. While teaching there he taught two students, Anna Iaccarino and Brooke Slaton, who now work for him at Old Town.

“Nick was a great teacher and was a mentor for me during cosmetology school,” Iaccarino said. “When I found out he was opening this place, I immediately wanted to work for him and was surprised and extremely happy when he asked me to come work for him. He’s a very inspiring person, and you’re always learning from him when you watch him work.”

For Slaton and Iaccarino, the success of Old Town lies with the “one team” mentality that has been established in their work environment.

“We’re all one big happy family here, and we all want what’s best for each other and for the shop,” Slaton said. “Nick and his wife take care of [Anna and me] and make this place a family environment. That family environment quality is something that really makes this unique and special.”

Old Town is located on 400 SE Second Street in Downtown Evansville and appointments can be made by calling 812-449-0706.

“I just want everyone to feel at home when they’re here,” Goodman said. “This is my home and I want everyone to come in and make themselves at home and feel comfortable.”