It’s a modest shop at 551 Beville Road, at a plaza overlooking the golf course in South Daytona.
The sign on the glass front identifies it as Homer’s Barbershop. A step inside, however, will identify it as much more than a barbershop.
The petite barber is Pauline Milana, today dressed in “steam punk” attire. She dresses in a different “theme” every day, she said. Her shop is more like a museum, with collections reflecting both her life and her loves (meaning favorite television shows, movies, collectibles and antiques).
The walls and counters are adorned with many clocks, theatrical masks, dolls, dragons, model cars, pirate memorabilia (including ships she created), autographed photographs of well-known people, and skulls (some arranged near a “complaint department” sign). She is a huge fan of the Walking Dead television series. She has an autographed photograph of one of the stars of the Walking Dead series, and she makes “Lucille” weapons, a barbed wire covered bat any Walking Dead fan would recognize.
There also is a plane collection. She is a licensed commercial pilot. There are boxing gloves hanging on the wall. She takes boxing lessons, and was an amateur fighter “years ago,” she said. Years ago meaning age 54. She is now 65 and no longer boxes, though she looks like she could hold her own anywhere.
There is a piano in this barbershop. Ms. Milana said she doesn’t play, though people sometimes come in and play the piano. She does, however, play violin, and has, of course, a collection of violins in the shop. Sometimes she sells things she collects. Other times, collectibles just become an eclectic addition to her shop.
A New York transplant, Ms. Milana has been a Florida resident for many years, living first with her parents in Dunnellon, then in the Daytona Beach area. She said she became homeless after Hurricane Charlie destroyed her home. She has now lived in Port Orange for more than 21 years.
She has been at Homer’s Barbershop for more than 10 years. The owner was Homer Edington (thus the shop’s name) when she first worked there. Then Jim Jillies bought it, and she bought it from him.
“I like working by myself,” she said.
She cuts men’s, women’s and young peoples’ hair, saying “I’m really pretty good at hair cutting.”
Her grandfather was a New York barber. She still has some of his barber tools. Of course she does. She is a born collector. She also is an artist. She has a degree in art. She majored in math. But she loves cutting hair.
“I especially like talking to the young Embry-Riddle students,” she said, “Because I was a pilot.”
She added she likes the mixture of customers, young and old. “Some have been coming ever since I first worked here.”
Her dad was a pilot, too, she said. She has even piloted planes carrying sky divers.
She once cut the hair of a Thunderbird pilot, and has a photo (signed, of course) to prove it. She also cut Daytona Beach Police Chief Greg Capri’s hair, and has a picture to prove that, too.
“I like to do a lot of different things,” Ms. Milana said. “I consider myself an artist that works with hair. This shop is a work of art to me.”
Homer’s Barbershop is open 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesday to Friday, and 8:30 am to 2 p.m. It's usually closed Sunday and Monday, but Ms. Milana might be there anyway. The colorful barber is always redecorating, or adding another collectible to her shop.