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Wednesday, January 3rd, 2007

Following his dream

Clippers passed to next generation in Minster

By Juliana Brown

Tony Donauer, 24, stands inside his new barber shop, Donauer's Barber Shop, 234. . .

MINSTER - Some years ago Robert Donauer was a well-known Minster barber; now it's the late Donauer's grandson, Tony, who has clipped and chopped his way to the top.
Tony Donauer, a 2001 Minster High School graduate, opened Donauer's Barber Shop at 234 East Fourth St., on Oct. 28. He rents the space, across from Bud's Pizza and east of the Wooden Shoe Inn, from property owner Doug Larger.
After high school, Donauer headed off to the University of Toledo to study physical education but soon realized it was not for him. He then moved to Columbus and worked at a golf course and at a club as a bouncer.
Beginning in April 2004, Donauer started attending barber school at the Ohio State College of Barber Styling, Columbus.
"I had to do something," he said.
In just 10 months Donauer finished school and held his own barber license. He began working at Platinum Sheers in Columbus for a few months. After a three-year stay in the city, he moved back to Minster and began working at Great Clips, Sidney. He was employed there for two years and then decided it was the right time to start his own business.
"I decided I had put in enough time and had enough experience to take off where grandpa left off," Donauer said.
His grandfather had a barber shop in the old Crescent Theater in Minster and gave his grandson his first haircut there. The shop also was called Donauer's Barber Shop. His grandfather cut hair for at least 50 years and passed away in 1987, when Donauer was only 5 years old.
Donauer only knows about his grandfather's barber days from stories told to him by his father, Jim, and his uncle, Mike.
When business is slow, Donauer said his dad and some of his buddies like to come to the shop to play dominoes, visit or watch sports. One of Donauer's favorite things about being a barber is getting to talk to customers.
"Every person who walks into the shop brings something different," he said.
Some tell stories; others tell jokes or gossip. Then, there are those who just like to watch TV or take a short nap, he said. He noted the older customers often tell stories about his grandfather and often compare him to his grandfather.
Outside of Donauer's shop is a red, white and blue striped barber pole. Inside are framed hangings of Donauer's barber school license and his grandfather's old barber license. His first official customer was high school friend Austin Kaylor, and his first dollar earned is proudly displayed in the corner of the mirror.
His one-station shop includes a large, wall-mounted plasma screen television, often tuned to a sports channel or Nickelodeon. He hopes to incorporate a rock-n-roll theme and hang pictures of Mick Jagger, The Beatles, The Rolling Stones and eventually buy a satellite radio.
Business is slowly picking up, Donauer said. He hopes to gain a few more customers when another Minster barber, Tom Meyer, retires in the future.
When asked if he thought barbering could be his profession for life, he replied, "Absolutely. I love it. I will be doing it as long as I can."
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