The Finns have arrived on Capitol Hill. They want to cut your hair.
“We like growing areas. There is nowhere in Seattle that isn’t growing right now. This is one of the places where it is centered,” MRoom brand director Gary Moore told CHS this spring as the global chain’s latest North American beachhead began its buildout on E Pike.
MRoom Capitol Hill opened Monday morning with four chairs, a week of free haircutting, and a crisp approach to hair, one of the few industries that has mostly defied the transition to a digital economy. Capitol Hill’s hair game continues to be strong with the latest openings trending toward the more masculine barbershop end of the spectrum. The Scotch Pine — “modern barbershop your granddad would be proud of” — opened this year in Chophouse Row while 12th and Pike is destined to sport a new Bishops as it brings its “free beer,” um, concept from Portland to entice Pike/Pine dudes — and ladies who appreciate a good razor cut.
Born in Finland, MRoom has quickly scaled out a global brand from its first cuts in 2008. There are more than 50 shops in Finland and the brand has been expanded through subsidiaries across Europe and, more recently to the United States. The first MRoom in the U.S. opened last year below the Executive Hotel Pacific downtown. Expect more. “The walk to the next one should only be a few minutes,” Moore said of MRoom’s strategy of clustering shops.
So far, the formula appears to be a worldwide success. Moore boasts that MRoom has “never closed a store.” The pricing is also part of the global equation — $38 for a cut. “It doesn’t matter if we’re in the center of London,” Moore said. MRoom’s worldwide presence could also be part of the attraction of working for the chain. “It’s a global opportunity for a stylist,” Moore said.
Capitol Hill barbershops aplenty
- New: The Scotch and Pine, MRoom, Bishops (coming soon)
- Hill: Acme, Ace, Emerson Barbershop, Raven, Sal’s, Seattle Barber (Broadway Alley)
- Big guys: Rudy’s (E Pine and 15th Ave E)
- Old timers: Tim’s
The new shop fills in commercial space left empty when boutique Paris Eastside gave up its Seattle experiment and closed shop after three years on E Pike. Owner Muriel-Marguerite Foucher was traveling in France following the closure but ultimately never returned our messages about the closure. In the months since, the empty storefront had been a near daily stop for East Precinct officers called to roust campers.
As for the existing barbershops around Pike/Pine, Moore said he expects MRoom will find its niche with a more adult, sophisticated approach than the rock and roll style he says he’s heard about at places like Rudy’s. “How can you find out what the clients want if your head is banging?”
“No matter where we go in the world, the service will be the same, the haircut style will be the same,” Moore promises. “A competition haircutting style — quick and precise.”
It’s a style for a different Pike/Pine.
“That’s our market,” Moore said. “We are in this bracket. 75% of the male population just want a cool, quick, perfect haircut.”
MRoom is located at 816 E Pike. You can learn more mroom.com/us/.