The year was 1998: It was the year that Google was founded, the movie Titanic won 11 Academy Awards and gasoline averaged $1.15 per gallon. And on Bank Street in downtown Stamford, Connecticut, a high-end men’s grooming center was born.
Montana for Men is proud to announce that this year marks the 25th anniversary since its opening in Stamford, CT. Founded by Master Barber Michael Warde, Montana for Men has been providing a sophisticated grooming experience tailored exclusively for gentlemen since 1998.
Over the past quarter century Mr. Warde and his team have been coiffing and styling men’s hair in Stamford, establishing the shop as a mecca for men’s grooming. From politicians and the area’s business elite to tradesmen and teachers, hundreds — if not thousands — of men have become the regulars that make this business thrive.
Montana for Men has defied the odds that most small businesses in the US face: According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, 20% of small businesses fail in their first year and almost half don’t last beyond five years. That’s not to say that it has been easy street for Warde and Montana for Men.
During their first ten years in business, Mr. Warde cultivated a loyal following from various corporate neighbors in downtown Stamford. But many businesses were hit hard during the financial crisis of 2008. With their downsizing, Warde saw a large portion of his client base evaporate. A decade later, the COVID-19 pandemic landed another blow, reducing Stamford’s office population – and along with it, taking a good chunk of Montana for Men’s clientele.
Many area businesses were forced to close. But Warde and the Montana for Men team dug in, determined to survive. In some cases, they helped out their clients who had fallen victim to layoffs with free haircuts. Warde himself even delivered “haircut house calls”, giving haircuts to clients in their backyards or driveways to help protect themselves from COVID.
Warde’s determination paid off and his loyal clients helped keep his business afloat, recommending Michael to their friends, buying gift certificates, and returning to support Montana for Men stronger than ever. That loyalty runs deep, with many relocated clients continuing to travel from New York and New Jersey, refusing to part ways with Warde’s tonsorial excellence.
After twenty-five years in Stamford, Montana for Men has become a multi-generational institution. Longtime client Michael Fleisher recounts “I have been a client of Michael since the early days. Now my three sons all swear by Michael (and he was also kind enough to do my daughter’s first haircut when she was 2!). The crazy thing is that we don’t live nearby anymore but we all trek to Montana for our haircuts because no one else can get it to look just right like Michael does. We’ve all become friends throughout life’s trials and tribulations, your barber truly does know everything!”
Michael Warde was honing his barber skills in London’s West End in the 1980s when, while leafing through a copy of Hairdressers Journal, he noticed an ad looking for a hairstylist at a high-end women’s salon in Greenwich, Connecticut. Six months later, Warde was living and working in Greenwich employed in a woman’s hair salon. Knowing that he also cut men’s hair, his patrons would frequently ask if Michael could squeeze in their boyfriends or husbands for a cut. That became Warde’s lightbulb moment: Why couldn’t men also have a high-end salon experience, with scheduled appointments and access to manicures, pedicures, waxing, coloring and a traditional hot shave if they wanted – all while watching the game and enjoying a cold beer? Montana for Men was born.
Perhaps the biggest beneficiaries of Montana for Men’s success over the past twenty-five years have been the wives, girlfriends, moms, partners and significant others who have seen the men in their lives finally give up on bargain haircuts and become devout Montana for Men regulars.
Warde muses, “I see men wearing $1,000 suits with a $500 pair of shoes and a $15 haircut. They’ll wear that luxury clothing only once in a while, but that cheap haircut will stay with them for a month”.
To celebrate their 25th anniversary, for the week leading up to Father’s Day Montana for Men is donating $25 to the St. Baldrick’s Foundation for anyone who schedules their appointment with a companion cut for their dad. Those interested should call for details.
Montana for Men’s 25th anniversary celebration promises to be a testament to the salon’s commitment to excellence, luxury, and unwavering dedication to its discerning clientele. Stay tuned for further updates on this extraordinary milestone and be prepared to immerse yourself in the world of refined men’s grooming.