Myron “Mike” Kunin died October 30 in Minneapolis at the age of 85. Kunin, a consummate entrepreneur, was best known for developing his small, family salon business into Regis Corporation, the world’s largest chain of salons and a multi-billion dollar business.
Kunin was instrumental in developing and investing in a number of other businesses as well, spanning media, electronics and real estate. He was also an art collector with special interest and expertise in 20th Century American art and a former chairman and a life trustee of the Minneapolis Institute of Art.
Kunin’s father was a barber and cosmetologist who met Kunin’s mother after styling her hair in his Minneapolis salon. Kunin later purchased his father’s small chain of department store salons and developed it into Regis Corporation. He moved the salons out of department stores and into free standing locations in shopping malls. Kunin had a keen eye for the salon industry and constantly adapted Regis salons to industry changes during his decades at the head of the company. He served as president and chief executive officer from 1965- 1996; chairman of the board from 1983-2004 and vice chairman from 2003-2008.
Kunin’s wide range of philanthropic activities included generous gifts to the University of Minnesota, helping to fund the Regis Center for Arts and the Center for Holocaust and Genocide Studies. He helped send more than 1,000 Minneapolis high school students to college through a discreet scholarship that he funded for 31 years. He gave generously to The Walker Art Center, the Northern Clay Center and the Smithsonian Museum of American Art. He was a long time supporter of the Minneapolis Jewish Federation and a lifelong resident of Minneapolis.
Kunin is survived by his wife Anita; his sister Diana Lewis; four sons: David, Bill, Tim and Drew and seven grandchildren. Memorials may be sent to the Myron Kunin Scholarship Fund at the University of Minnesota Foundation, 200 Oak Street, Suite 500, Minneapolis, Minnesota 55455.
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