After taking ownership of the Manvel Barber Shop late last year, John Cox was putting in more time than he cared to in taking care of his customers. After his long-time partner, Steve Moore, passed away in August, Cox assumed sole ownership of the business. After giving the shop a new look he started the search for another barber to help meet the demand for haircuts. As Cox describes it, he was putting in grueling hours covering the load two used to meet together. He would start to drag in the afternoon, he said, and elaborated that he is no longer 30 years-old. On an average day when two of them worked they would cut about fifteen or twenty customers a day. His average was upward of 35 or 40 before he finally hired Flo France last November.
Flo is no stranger to the area. She began her barber career in South Houston 36 years ago but worked in Alvin for more than 15 years before moving to Surfside and Oyster Creek where she worked for another ten years before retiring. Saying she just needed a break from barbering after so many years she took on the role of caregiver for several acquaintances. After several years she renewed her interest in barbering and answered the ad placed by John in local papers.
Flo brings an easy going attitude and a pleasing disposition to the shop. Her business cards read “go with the Flo.” She is single and says good naturedly that “I get all the conversation with men I need at the shop.” She described hers and John’s style as “close to the same” and the Manvel barber shop as the type of place she is used to – “the old fashioned feel. We don’t foo foo, we are just plain old every day barbers. There are so few of us ‘old barbers’ left,” she says of her and John.
Shop customers have welcomed her. John estimates 80% of his customers are fine with either one cutting their hair. For his part, John, who has barbered for 48 years, says things have worked out great so far. Both are working at a level they are comfortable with and the business continues to see new customers and even some former customers who have returned to the shop. Not caring to work the hours she used to, Flo works four days and generally comes in a bit after opening time. John is ok with that, though he does sometimes tease her about it. Laughing at his comment, Flo says John tells her she acts like Steve and even looks like him.
Though the shop atmosphere has changed aesthetically and in personalities, Flo has fit in well and regulars appear happy. Long-time customers can feel confident their old-time barber shop is in good hands.