Sidcup Barber Shop a cut above
PUBLISHED: 13:03 10 January 2013 | UPDATED: 13:03 10 January 2013
When you visit Sidcup Barber Shop you do not just get a good haircut. Owner Mike Lowe prides himself on giving customers a great experience to go alongside it.
He opened his traditional barber shop in Sidcup in 1994 and moved to High Street two years later.
The arrival of the Sidcup Barber Shop has seen Mike return to his first love.
Having trained as a hairdresser in the 1960s and worked in a West End salon in London for a decade, he took a job as a sales rep for a pharmaceutical company for 20 years before deciding to pick up the scissors again.
He admitted he would not have done anything differently.
“Eventually you reach a point in your life when you have to make decisions about the future. I had my heart set on a town that had a busy high street and a good balance between generations.
“I don’t regret it. We’ve had some brilliant customers over the years. One of the most memorable is a chap we nicknamed John the Beard, who has been coming in every week for the past 12 years.
“He always has his haircut and beard trimmed in exactly the same way. He is so eccentric and full of life.”
Despite strong competition from a surplus of high-end salons, business is going well, says the 67-year-old.
“We have a core set of customers and a lot of repeat business because we make sure we remember names and faces and try to give visitors good banter.
“Our location in High Street is prime and we have a no appointment policy – there is a camera on the website to show you how busy we are.”
Mike has noticed changes in the industry over the years as styles and cuts have altered.
“Since 1994 hairstyles have generally become shorter so more men have started cutting their own hair or getting their partner to do it,” he says.
“But I find those who do come in more demanding about what they want because it’s more of a luxury these days.
“Having a traditional cut-throat shave is also not as popular as it used to be – plus I’m the only one who shaves customers so I usually only do one a week.”
Mike is confident about the future of the business.
He has moved from Bromley to Appledore near Ashford so he is no longer a constant presence in the shop.
It will be taken care of by managers Rita Farina and Sue Buckley.
“Rita is almost like an unofficial partner,” explains Mike. “She joined about three months after the business opened and she’s been here ever since.
“Sue joined us in 1996 and there is a real family feel to it.
“My wife Sheila and I wanted a change of scenery, but luckily I have Rita and Sue. I couldn’t do it without them.”
Visit www.sidcupbarbershop.co.uk/sidcup.htm or call 020 8309 7808 for more information.