From: Kings Head Salon
1246 N. Van Buren
Milwaukee, WI 53202
Contact: Ray Schneider, 414-273-7980, or
Jordan Fox, 414-352-2645
(Milwaukee, WI, January 15, ‘09) — Long-time business partners Ray Schneider and Dave Lemke recently celebrated a noteworthy milestone–the 40th anniversary of Kings Head, their popular, full-service hair salon located at 1246 N. Van Buren St. in downtown Milwaukee.
Their business grew from modest beginnings, according to Schneider, to one that today is a million dollar plus operation. In November 1968, the two Chilton, Wis. natives invested some of their own money, borrowed additional funds from friends, and went into business together in Milwaukee. They rented a small space on Knapp St. where they opened up a two–chair barbershop. They grew steadily over the years and expanded into a larger location on Ogden Ave., around the corner from their original spot. The Kings Head business continued to prosper and they moved back into their original building, but now own it. The salon today encompasses 7500 square feet, compared to the original 350-square feet of space they rented in the building.
The Schneider-Lemke team specializes in personal and hair care services and products for both men and women. Since their first days on Knapp St., their business philosophy places great importance on providing superior service to their customers.
“We employ 16 highly motivated, well-trained customer-oriented employees who are professionals,” says Lemke. “Many of them are long-term and well valued employees.”
“When we started in the 1960s, we were cutting long hair, which was the popular length back then. But starting in the 1990s, working with short hair became the thing,” he says. Kings Head then added to their service offerings. “In addition to cutting, styling and coloring hair, we offer various massage techniques, as well as hair replacements and transplants, and hair pieces for men, and wigs and hair extensions for women.”
Among other distinctions, Schneider notes that they’ve become the nation’s top dealer for Cyberhair, a state-of-the science hair replacement product.
They’re also enhancing their customer-friendly features for their 7,500 clients by utilizing an Internet presence (http://www.kingshead.com). “You can book appointments and order products 24/7 online,” he says. “We’ll ship free of charge, as well. And we were one of the first Milwaukee businesses to go WI-FI (wireless fidelity), enabling our clientele to surf the web with a laptop and a wireless card connected to the Internet. We cater to customers who are creative and want to be up-to-date about current events, business and hairstyles, and they appreciate having WI-FI available.”
Schneider and Lemke believe a business partnership that has lasted this long is relatively rare. They feel theirs has continued successfully because the two work well together and their respective strengths complement each other. Schneider is responsible for operations, marketing and the hair replacement and transplant business. Lemke is their HR director and runs the hair styling end of the business.
Good communication between the two sustains the partnership, too. They often go out to lunch to update each other on their respective ends of the business. They also discuss separate ideas for solving business or personnel problems and thereby make considered and balanced decisions.
Another factor responsible for their success is the fact that they are always plugged into the likes and dislikes of their customers. “We’re very aware of the important emphasis on good grooming and strive to meet their needs,” says Lemke.
Their friendship also plays a role in their success. “We live about a mile apart in Mequon,” says Schneider, “and we and our wives often socialize together.”
Schneider and Lemke first knew each other in fourth grade in Chilton, but had gone their separate ways until they renewed their friendship in Milwaukee years later. Coincidentally, they both had chosen careers as barbers and moved to Milwaukee to work. They bumped into each other there and reestablished a friendship. One night in 1968 they decided to start a business together, hopeful that it would succeed. Forty years later, they each say that it has.