Stormy takes Nelson's quirkiest barbershop to a brand new man cave

Shawn Stormann cuts the hair of Joel Felber at Stormy's Man Cave in the City Centre Arcade.
MARTIN DE RUYTER

Shawn Stormann cuts the hair of Joel Felber at Stormy's Man Cave in the City Centre Arcade.

Walking into Stormy's Man Cave is like taking a step back into an old American barbershop.

Customers wait on distressed leather couches next to a fridge full with cold beverages and a tea and coffee stand. 

The barber chairs sit atop chequered tiles and white wallpaper looks like it is crumbling to reveal red bricks.

Shawn Stormann cuts the hair of Joel Felber at Stormy's Man Cave in the City Centre Arcade.
MARTIN DE RUYTER

Shawn Stormann cuts the hair of Joel Felber at Stormy's Man Cave in the City Centre Arcade.

"A common compliment to the man cave is that the decor is unique, fun and funky," owner Shawn Stormann says.

READ MORE: A close shave in the man cave

Stormann has been in the City Centre Arcade since April 2012 and employs four barbers: Dale, Ajay, Gary and Angus.

Luke Burke has his head shaved by Shawn Stormann at Stormy's Man Cave for his part as Uncle Fester in the Nelson Music ...
Supplied

Luke Burke has his head shaved by Shawn Stormann at Stormy's Man Cave for his part as Uncle Fester in the Nelson Music Theatre's production of the Addams Family Musical.

"We try to keep things interesting for the kids, big and small, with puzzles, games, comics and colouring books and magazines of interest to men are available on the large, shared coffee table," he said. 

"One of the fun aspects of the decor is that a lot of it has been brought in by our customers."

An old mounted steer head, sports memorabilia and antique tobacco tins are displayed in the shop which are all from their clients' personal collections.

Nelson barber Shawn Stormann checks himself in the mirror for a blade shave in  2012 at his then new premises Stormy's ...
Colin Smith

Nelson barber Shawn Stormann checks himself in the mirror for a blade shave in 2012 at his then new premises Stormy's Man Cave Barber Shop.

Over the four years upstairs in the arcade, Stormann says one of his career highlights was being asked to cut and style the male half of the Grease cast from the Nelson Musical Theatre.

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"Big, slicked, rockabilly pompadours, and lots of hairspray. Getting the styles to last through some high-energy choreography was quite a challenge, but so much fun."

Stormann says the team aren't afraid to get stuck into a multitude of different activities, including a log-splitting competition which ended up a lot better than they could have hoped.

"One of my barbers and myself were off to the side of the competition Googling 'how to operate a cross-cut saw' just prior to the start of the race.

"Much to our amazement, we kept winning our heats and eventually came in second overall. I was so sore the next day, I could barely get out bed, but it was all good fun."

He said community events like the log-splitting competition, fundraisers and fashion shows were always rewarding to get involved in.

Clients at the man cave have included actor, Mark Hadlow who was cast as Dori in The Hobbit films, Super Rugby stars Luke Romano and Kane Hames, and Caleb Nott who is one half of Broods. There was also one young man who made a big impression on Stormann.

"My most memorable customer is a challenging young man who came to us after being banned from other barbers in town. He hates having a haircut, but trying to make it fun and less-traumatic for him felt like quite an accomplishment," he said.

Stormann says wedding parties have always been an entertaining part of the job because the men usually knew each other and hadn't seen each other in a while.

"Their energy is fun and it's a privilege to be a part of the groom and groomsmen's special day.  They've often provided us with glimpses into the special touches they are bringing to day."

He says one party will always stick out in his mind as particularly fun.

"We were once treated to a hilarious "rehearsal" of a flashmob-style dance routine that the groomsmen had all been working on for the reception which was full of more enthusiasm than it was talent, but so much fun nonetheless.

"These moments are quite special for us in the man cave."

In the time that Stormy's Man Cave has been around, Stormann feels it is time for them to expand and upsize the business.

"While we've enjoyed our space in the City Centre Arcade for the last four and half years, we have outgrown it. It gets quite busy and hot up here in the summertime, and I've had my eye out for a larger and more comfortable space."

The new shop is above Beetees on Trafalgar St in the former Jewel Beetle jewellery premises Work is being done to make the space ready for after the Labour Day weekend on October 25.

Stormann said he and the other barbers were looking forward to a more spacious shop with big, sunny windows that looked down on the street that they could open in the summer to let the breeze come in.

With more space, the plan for the shop was to offer a pool table, proper dartboards and a humidor which Stormann hoped to convert from an old safe.

"There's a beautiful old walk-in safe that we hope to convert into a humidor, offering a selection of cigars to discerning gentlemen or the groomsmen parties that we like to cater to during the wedding season."

Although some things would change, he said he wanted to keep the "charm and whimsy" that their current shop was well known for.

 

 - Stuff

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