Kurt Wheeler was looking for a business opportunity close to family in Lovell. The son of Lovell native Tamara Savage Wheeler of Laurel, Mont., and the grandson of Doug and Eva Savage, he has a number of relatives in the area and had recently completed barber school in Billings.
Wheeler and wife Tammy, who hails from Belgrade, Mont., started looking around and contacted Sue Taylor at Lovell Inc., who put them in touch with Bob Jensen, who owns the barbershop building. It turned out that longtime Clyde Drain of Clipper Clyde fame was ready to retire.
Kurt’s Cuts was born, opening Thursday, Nov. 15.
After graduating from high school in 2005, Wheeler served a mission for the LDS Church in Connecticut and Rhode Island, then worked as a maintenance man and groundskeeper for Billings Facilities Management, which takes care of LDS buildings in southern Montana.
Tammy Wheeler graduated from high school in Belgrade in 2007, then earned a degree from BYU in 2011 in mathematics education. Kurt, meanwhile, took a one-year barber course at the Academy of Nail, Skin and Hair in Billings.
Newlyweds Kurt and Tammy moved to Gardiner, Mont., in 2011, where Tammy taught high school and middle school math for a year, but then the couple started to pursue business opportunities.
“We have a lot of family in Lovell, and we wanted to be close to family and see if I could get a job as a barber,” Kurt said. “I went to Lovell Inc. to see if Lovell needed a barber, and Sue said Clyde might be ready to retire and to talk to Bob (Jensen). The timing was just right. We got really lucky.”
The couple is running the new business, and Tammy will soon begin substitute teaching, hoping to land a full-time teaching job in the future.
Kurt’s Cuts is open Monday through Friday at 8 a.m., keeping doors open until 5 p.m. Monday, Wednesday and Friday and until 7 p.m. Tuesday and Thursday. He takes walk-in customers, and appointments can also be made – even after hours if the need is there.
Wheeler also offers hot towel shaves, scalp treatments and grey hair coverage, which he said was “pretty popular” in Billings.
Kurt’s hobbies include rock climbing and rappelling, and both Kurt and Tammy like to read and write. Kurt hopes to write a series of science fiction novels.
“We plan to be here as long as the business works out,” Kurt said.
By David Peck