St. Paul Barber Shop Opens In Defiance Of Walz’s Orders

The owner of the shop insists that he's not out to break the law, but that he and his employees simply cannot afford to stay closed any longer.

King Milan’s Barbershop in St. Paul chose to reopen, Monday, in defiance of Minnesota Governor Tim Walz’s orders to remain closed.

Milan Dennie, the shop’s owner, opened for business with a strict set of rules to ensure the safety of patrons. On the day of his “grand reopening,” Dennie gave away free masks to visitors to his barber shop, only allowed 5 customers in his building at one time and equipped his barbers with the necessary personal protective equipment, per the Kings Facebook page.

“I’m not trying to be disrespectful in any way to his rules or laws,” Dennie clarified, per Twin Cities news, “but it’s unfair.”

“I’m a business owner who is required by the state to go to school and learn [safety protocols],” he continued, “but someone who owns a liquor store, who is not trained, can have a group of people in there all day … and be called an essential business? It’s not fair. … I can’t see myself following an unjust law, which is not a law to me. And we starving. No, it’s not fair.”

Milan Denny has been cutting hair at his shop on University Ave since 2005. Note: this photograph was taken before COVID-19, thus the lack of masks.

If he were to follow Walz’s orders, Dennie would be without income for over 60 days, as business closures were recently extended until through the 18th.

Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, King’s Barber Shop has strived to assist its community by handing out 2,000 rolls of toilet paper and 1,000 containers of hand soap. Dennie also runs a nonprofit to give haircuts to underprivileged youth in the Twin Cities.

Supporters have begun donating via a GoFundMe to pay the shop’s legal fees should the state choose to enforce its closure orders. As of Monday night, the fund which was started by Sheila Kihne had raised about $600 of its $1,000 goal.