Rapattoni Rules: Downtown Plano’s barbershop wants to be come a citywide fixture

Michael Rapattoni of Rapattoni’s Barbershop. photography Austin Marc Graf

“When I was a kid I wanted to cut hair,” Michael Rapattoni says. “I grew up in a really tough neighborhood in South Philadelphia. I didn’t want to go to beauty school.”

The 55-year-old Philadelphia transplant owns Rapattoni’s Barbershop in the heart of Downtown Plano. He enrolled in beauty school at 40, chasing a childhood dream after a career in sales.

“At 40, I didn’t care,” he says. “I wasn’t that guy anymore.”

He got his first job as a barber in Philadelphia, before moving to Los Angeles and then settling in Plano with a job at Finley’s Barbershop.

“We had the same clientele on Thursday nights for some reason,” Rapattoni recalls. “It was like the bald fades, they would come in once a week. The manager was gone, we’d say whatever we wanted.”

Through those Thursday nights, Rapattoni noticed the power of community that could be made in an environment like a barbershop.

“We even branded it as ‘Finley’s After Dark,’” he jokes. “It was the same people coming in with the same jokes, they’re leaving with these big smiles. Why wouldn’t this just be a thing?”

With Rapattoni’s Barbershop, he tried to do just that. He opened the spot in August 2020 with his exact vision in mind: create a barbershop that feels like a hangout.

“I knew I understood the business because I was a business consultant,” Rapattoni says. “The relationship part of it, I might have actually been intimidated by that.”

Rapattoni brought over some of the clients he cut for at Finley’s, but the prospect of building up a whole new customer base was daunting. He wanted to make sure his vision stayed exact.

After 15 years in the hair-cutting business, he’s beginning to see the fruits of his labor.

“You start cutting a 22-year-old’s hair,” Rapattoni says. “Then you’re at his wedding at 30 making sure his hair is right to walk down the aisle.”

Going on the fourth year of his own shop, Rapattoni says he’d love to see the shop expand to more locations, so long as the soul remains the same.

“It’s a bunch of dudes hanging on a street corner,” he says. “We just so happen to be cutting hair.”

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