Two days prior to iMack Barber Lounge’s grand opening at Glenbrook Square Mall, its storefront didn’t sit silent. Instead, clippers could be heard buzzing inside.
Mark Vachon, also know as Mack V, was wasting no time as he gave his long-time client, Big Kess, the very first haircut at his latest location.
Mack V is the owner of iMack Barber Lounge at 3219 E. State Blvd. Over Labor Day Weekend, he opened a second shop inside Glenbrook Square Mall, and it may be part of a national trend. For the past five years, barbershops nationwide have seen an annualized revenue increase of 5.3 percent, largely due to population growth and the rising popularity of specialized services.
Despite a global pandemic, Mack V is moving forward with plans to expand his barbershop in Fort Wayne, and customers say his style and touch set him apart.
“The first thing that I think of at any of his barbershops is upclass, very clean, and very modern,” says Kess, a local Fort Wayne radio personality of more than 20 years and customer of Mack V’s for more than five years.
Inside the new iMack Barber Lounge, chandeliers shine across the ceiling. A red carpet lays out on black and white tile floor leading up to a matching red pool table standing among barber stations with toolboxes for cabinets and steel and leather chairs for clients to sit in as they have their hair cut.
Kess says that Mack V’s attention to detail doesn’t stop with the décor in iMack Barber Lounge.
“Mark, I can honestly say is one of the best barbers, if not the best barber, in town,” Kess says. “You know how when people say you get what you pay for? You get what you pay for here, and that’s the best way to describe it.”
Kess says that Mark Vachon pays attention to detail in his work.
For Mack V, the road to opening a second location and building a dedicated clientele of customers like Kess started seven years ago. In the beginning, the Fort Wayne native says he was drawn to becoming a barber because it was an opportunity to surround himself with his friends. It quickly became much more, as he decided to open his first barbershop in May 2014, one year into becoming a barber.
The inspiration to take the leap into entrepreneurship began with a message Mack V heard in the rapper Nipsey Hussle’s mixtape, The Marathon.
“I’ve been through a lot of ups and downs in my days, and the concept to keep going at a steady pace, as if life was a marathon, keeps pushing me to a new level every day,” Mack V says.
Mark Vachon trims his own hair at the new iMack Barber Lounge.
When the time came to take his business to the next level and open a second location, Mack V says he selected Glenbrook Square Mall because of the more than 15 million visitors who pass through it each year.
Mack V’s aspirations for iMack Barber Lounge doesn’t stop with this new location either. His goal for the business is to one day be “the McDonalds of barbershops,” he says.
“I definitely plan on expanding and going different places and seeing different things, but my heart is in Fort Wayne, so I do plan on keeping the business here,” Mack V says.
T-shirts at iMack Barber Lounge at Glenbrook Square Mall.
Since May 2014, Mack V has grown his business to offer more than a dozen services varying from haircuts and beard lines to children haircuts and more. Yet, through all the phases of growing and expanding iMack Barber Lounge, his favorite part of the job is similar to the reason he became a barber in the first place: The connections he creates with others through his work.
“I think the most valuable thing about cutting hair for me is the relationship building,” Mack V says. “Through this, I meet all different kinds of people. It’s brought a lot of growth, meeting all of these different kinds of people.”
As Mack V aims to bring on up to 16 new barbers with the expansion of iMack Barber Lounge, he admits that after nearly a decade as a barber, he may begin to minimize how often he himself is cutting hair. However, just like his beginnings in Fort Wayne, his love for barbershop work will continue to play a part in his future.
“I’ll definitely always have a place behind the chair,” he says.
Mark Vachon appreciates the chance to get to know many people through his barbershop work.
Visit iMack Barber Lounge at Glenbrook Square Mall
iMack Barber Lounge is now open at 4201 Coldwater Rd. in Glenbrook Square Mall located across from H&M and Auntie Anne’s Pretzels.
iMack Barber Lounge’s first location is on 3217 East State Blvd.
iMack Barber Lounge is open Monday-Sunday from 11 a.m.-7 p.m. Appointments are accepted through the app the Cut.