Randy Nieland, owner of Natural Look Style Salon, finishes a haircut for Nicholas McCarty, a regular customer.
Randy Nieland, owner of Natural Look Style Salon, finishes a haircut for Nicholas McCarty, a regular customer.

June 9, 2017

A typical day for Randy Nieland starts with a 5:30 a.m. workout at the Carroll Recreation Center.

After his 90-minute workout, Nieland heads to Natural Look Style Salon, a barbershop in Carroll that he’s called his workplace for the past 20 years.

“It’s really not work to me,” Nieland said. “(Barbering) is a good business. It’s a nice lifestyle.”

Nieland also serves as an announcer for Carroll Merchants baseball games and Kuemper Catholic High School sporting events.

He grew up on a farm near Auburn. Due to an onset of bad allergies that would plague Nieland during summers on the farm, he realized at a young age that farming was not that ideal career choice. Nieland completed his apprenticeship in Manning, where he would work two days a week as a part-time barber.

In 1987, Nieland received a call from Dick Schulte, a commercial artist who owned a barbershop in Carroll, asking if he would consider working in Carroll full time.

“I had been giving that some thought, so I said, ‘Yeah,’” Nieland said.

At the time, the shop was called Natural Man.

Schulte would eventually move to California to pursue his career, which allowed Nieland to take over the business. Eight years ago, Nieland decided to buy the building along with Kathy Stein, owner of Kathy’s Headquarters, a salon located next to Natural Look. Nieland had to change the name of the shop because Natural Man is a franchise.

After a decade of owning Natural Look, Nieland was approached by Gilbert “Gib” Johnson, a longtime announcer for sporting events at Carroll and Kuemper High School. Johnson was known locally as “The Voice,” having announced in Carroll for more than 40 years.

“(Johnson) asked if I wanted to be a spotter for football, I said, ‘Sure,’” Nieland said. “So, I did some spotting. He eventually asked if I wanted to announce starting lineups. I said, ‘Sure.’”

Johnson would eventually retire. Nieland would take over as a full-time announcer. Today, Nieland shares the announcing duties with six others: Wes Treadway, John Greteman, Tim Fitzpatrick, Jim Swaller, Todd Clausen and Nick Brincks.

“(Announcing) is fun,” Nieland said. “(The other announcers) are all very good, qualified people.”

Though he enjoys the lifestyle, Nieland admits that he is thinking about retiring soon to free some time for travel with his wife, Deb. He is currently searching for a young barber to carry on the relationship that Natural Look has developed with the community since he arrived more than 30 years ago.

“Barbering is making a comeback,” Nieland said. “Our community is great. We have a lot of cosmetologists in Carroll, but I think it’s important for a community like Carroll to have a barber in it.”