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One of a Kind: Graver Barbers continues to thrive on local growth and regular clients

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Outside of Graver Barbers Barbershop on Second Ave. N. Chris Flynn / Forum News Service2 / 2

FARGO — Graver Barbers has been serving fresh cuts to the city of Fargo since 1929.

The location on Second Ave. N. serves as a place for good conversation, sports discussion,and banter that gives you a desire to be a regular.

Ryan and Joel Brehmer have manned the shop since their father, Don Brehmer, retired in 2007. Their grandfather was also a barber. This lineage has kept people coming back for more.

"When I started, I knew my dad's partner was going to be retiring, so perfect time to step in. Same thing with Ryan: When dad retired, he stepped in," Joel Brehmer said.

Joel has been a barber for 23 years while Ryan has been one for 11 and a half years. The work for them never gets old.

"People say, 'How do you do what you do, all day, every day?', but it's just constantly new people here every 15-20 minutes," Joel Brehmer said.

The Brehmers enjoy being the go-to barbershop for those who look for consistent hours, a good haircut and conversation about golf, hunting or anything you can imagine.

"I got buddies that go to salons and rarely get the same person twice, and they know we're going to be here the next 15 years, 20 years," Joel Brehmer said.

"You walk in and how often do I ask how you want it?" Joel asked a client mid-haircut.

The man responded with a chuckle, "Never."

Regulars are common for these two barbers.

"I've got quite a few, probably half, but luckily we bring in new people all the time. I got three that come in once a week. Two military, and one ex-military," Joel Brehmer said.

As if it couldn't be any more of a classic barbershop, Ryan Brehmer is also part of a barbershop chorus.

"That is strictly irony," Ryan Brehmer said.

"When I started cutting hair in here, we had a guy who was in the barbershop chorus and he asked to put a poster in here for one of their shows. My wife and I went to one of their shows and could tell how much fun they were having. I was hooked, pretty much."

The chorus consists of about 35-40 guys, according to Ryan Brehmer, and has competed both nationally and internationally.

Both brothers have competition in the Fargo community, but they still make it friendly and fun.

"We have a very friendly competition with Everett's over on Broadway, too. They send people our way, we send people their way," Joel Brehmer said.

The Graver Barbers sign says the shop is open Monday through Friday 7:30 a.m. to 5:00ish p.m.

"We always say we decide when 'ish' is; sometimes five-ish is a quarter to five, sometimes it's six. It was always that way. We like our weekends off," Joel Brehmer said.

At the end of the day, Joel Brehmer said the most important things are to "Be available, work long hours, give a decent haircut...we hope. We like what we do, that's a big part of it."