Bright colors, skeletons and a speakeasy room.
Three Saints Barber Shop & Shave Parlor isn’t your grandfather’s barber shop. Owner Mike McAndrew isn’t your grandfather’s barber.
Since McAndrew opened Three Saints in 2016, the shop has become one of the premiere spots for men’s grooming in the Midvalley. The shop’s loyal base of returning customers can go anywhere for a haircut or beard trim, but the experience is what keeps them coming back, McAndrew said.
“Some people just want the experience and we’re happy to oblige,” said McAndrew, 52. “We want everyone to be comfortable here. We treat everyone like family and that’s been one of the biggest reasons why we’ve been successful.”
After a brief period of running his first barber shop in Hershey as a 20-something in the late 1980s, McAndrew took a chance and moved back to his hometown of Archbald around 1991.
The decision to move back home came from giving an impromptu haircut to his father, who couldn’t find a barber open in the area. McAndrew realized how limited the options were for barber shops in Northeast Pennsylvania and the potential for cornering a new market as the youngest area barber in age by 40 years or more.
From there, the idea for Big Daddy’s Barber Shop sprouted a business that thrived for the next 22 years in Archbald. McAndrew won’t admit it, but Big Daddy’s may have pioneered the idea of “cool barber shop” in the Valley.
McAndrew sold the Archbald shop to deal with a serious health condition called ankylosing spondylitis, an inflammatory arthritis affecting the spine and large joints. AS left him without the use of his legs; he believed he would never walk again. After years of daily abdominal injections and harsh prescriptions that did little to ease the pain, McAndrew found solace in alternative forms of healing, which several of his doctors discredited. He made changes to his diet and started practicing meditation, water therapy and yoga daily, which provided enough relief for him to eliminate the strong prescriptions that once left him feeling empty and lethargic.
“It still takes me three hours or so to get ready for work each day,” said McAndrew. “But my quality of life is so much better these days.”
Three Saints was among the barbershops and hair salons finally allowed to reopen on June 26 when Lackawanna County went from yellow to green, the least restrictive phase of COVID-19 re-openings. The least restrictive phase still has its limitations, including operating at 40% occupancy and through appointment only. Masks are required and barbers aren’t allowed to groom facial hair.
While he waited to reopen, McAndrew stayed busy by continuing construction on a new speakeasy room. He emptied the old storage room and brought in a large bar, stools and a 13-foot by 14-foot high backbar carved from antique oak, which he pulled from an old bar in Dunmore two years ago. Adult customers in need of a little privacy can request a chair in the speakeasy for both shaves and haircuts once construction is completed.
The addition fits the shop’s atmosphere perfectly, said Three Saints employee Sam Keating.
“It’s good vibes all around in here,” said Keating. “It’s a fun place to work and we treat everyone like family.”
The shop’s name, Three Saints, is homage to the borough and its St. Ubaldo Day traditions.Yearlong, the shop lobby and storefront are decorated with the banners from the St. Ubaldo Society’s three families: St. Anthony, St. George and St. Ubaldo.
McAndrew’s 30-plus years of dedication to barbering was honored in May when he was voted to the State Board of Barber Examiners, which regulates the licensure and practice of the barbering profession in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. The Board inspects, approves and registers all barber shops and schools of barbering and prescribes the sanitary requirements for the individual establishment.
“The simplest way to explain the position and a little of what we do is that we are the judges within the industry,” said McAndrew. “It’s one of my proudest accomplishments for sure.”