WELLINGTON CENTRE, P.E.I. - After 25 years as a registered nurse, Darren Bulger had had enough.
His career in health care had been fulfilling, but as he approached his 50th birthday, the Wellington Centre man decided he needed to do something else for his own emotional and mental well-being.
“It was the best decision for me. I really needed a change,” said Bulger. “I just got to the point where I wanted to be able to put my feet on the floor and say, ‘Let’s do this thing,’ instead of dragging myself to work. So, I got tired of listening to myself complain.”
The change he was looking for came in the form of a razor and a century-old barber’s chair.
“I was always fascinated with the idea of barbershops for some reason. I always felt they were an anchor to a community, in a sense,” he said.
Bulger's mom used to cut hair for a few older men in his home community of Lot 11, and he remembers liking the atmosphere in the house when they would visit, roll their cigarettes and gossip about the latest news.
“Old guys would come in every once in a while and she’d cut their hair for a ‘fiver’ in the kitchen. Being a little kid sitting at the table watching this for years, I guess it kind of imprinted on me a little bit.”
So – he was going to be a barber.
“He’d been restless for a while in his career. When he mentioned the barbershop, I thought, ‘Yes, finally! He’s hit the nail on the head’.”
- Debbie Bulger
Bulger resigned from his position as an RN earlier this year, designed and built a barbershop in his home, researched the skills and enrolled in the Grafton Barber School of Excellence in Dublin, Ireland.
His wife, Debbie Bulger, also works in the health care industry. When they discussed his desire to take a new path, she understood.
“When he said he was done (in health care), I got it,” said Debbie. “He’d been restless for a while in his career. When he mentioned the barbershop, I thought, ‘Yes, finally! He’s hit the nail on the head’.”
“I threw out some goofy ideas (at first),” laughed Bulger.
“Because he loves people, connects with people, he’s creative and very particular. I figured it would suit,” added Debbie.
Bulger wrapped up his course in Ireland in late October, landed on P.E.I. on Nov. 2 and was open for business by Nov. 6. He’s dubbed his business the Well Razed Barber Shop.
The shop is located in his family’s home at 93 Sunnyside Rd.
He’s personalized it to fit his own tastes, which means lots of musical influences as he has played in bands and music has been a big part of his life. He’s also got a thing for men’s fashion and comic books, among other things.
He’s hoping to recreate the atmosphere he felt sitting around his mom’s kitchen table.
He couldn’t be happier going to work every day.
“I feel great about it. The reception has been very good. So far, everyone who has been in claims they will be back – so we’ll see,” he said, with a smile.
For more information about the Well Razed Barber, visit the Facebook page.
Here's where Bulger's barbershop is located: