After nearly 18 years the Manvel Barber Shop on Hwy 6 and Russel will see a new look. Shop founder Steve Moore passed away in August and his longtime friend and business partner John Cox recently bought the business from Moore’s widow and assumed the lease. Cox said the place will soon “look like a brand new building.”
Moore outfitted the shop to replicate the feel of an old small town barber shop. He had an impressive collection of fishing rods and reels as well as myriad old-time barber fixtures and equipment displayed on walls and in a glass cabinet. That same cabinet held an old-style cash register that rang up a maximum sale of just $5.99. The shop earned a TV news report earlier this year touting its unique atmosphere. In a recent interview following up the TV report, Moore described his collection of old things barber related: “I was single for a lot of years and didn’t have anything to do on weekends and I would get in my car and make like a 300-mile radius, stopping in little town antique shops. That was my weekend event.”
Cox described his relationship with Moore as “like brothers.” The collection of rods and reels and barber equipment was not included in the sale so will no longer define the atmosphere. Cox admits the shop was looking tired and was due for a facelift. He says he wants the place to look bright and have a clean look. The walls and ceilings will be painted and new flooring installed. He hopes to either recover or replace the waiting chairs. “I have work to do and it’s not going to happen overnight,” he says.
Cox is hoping to hire another barber to help him meet the demand. Since Moore’s passing he has put in grueling hours covering the load the two of them used to meet together. He said, “by 5:30 or 6 in the afternoon I am dragging. I’m not 30 years-old anymore. Steve and I never wanted to do more than about fifteen or twenty cuts a day. Here lately I’ve been averaging 35 or 40. That’s why I need another barber.”
Cox did not want to see the shop close. He said “losing a business that has been here eighteen years is kind of tough.” He considers the shop as “a fixture of Manvel. It’s been here so long. I just did not see the clientele that we had just have to go wherever.” He says the hours of operation and costs will remain the same and the business will carry on much as before, just with a different look.