Happy days at Oak Bay Barber

Estevan village barber celebrates 25 years of good humour and great haircuts

Barber Happy Coxford shares a laugh with long-time customer Jack Petrie. Coxford celebrates 25 years in Oak Bay tomorrow (Saturday

Barber Happy Coxford shares a laugh with long-time customer Jack Petrie. Coxford celebrates 25 years in Oak Bay tomorrow (Saturday

A lot of jokes get exchanged at Happy Coxford’s Oak Bay Barber Shoppe.

It’s part of what keeps his customers coming back and Happy, well, happy.

“It’s my sense of humour, no doubt about it,” laughs Coxford, who celebrates 25 years in business this week.

Coxford grew up in Montreal, and leaving in 1976, he ventured first to the East Coast before turning west. Without a lot of formal education, he looked at construction, but not seeing a lot of older guys still doing it, considered what he could build a career around. After hairdressing for seven years, Coxford turned to barbering.

“Men are a whole lot easier,” he laughs.

“This is the kind of work I could do til I’m dead, which I pretty much plan on doing,” says Coxford, 58. “I’m good ‘til I’m 69 on this lease – I hope to make it that far.”

Coxford spent 18 years on Oak Bay Avenue – where Pedego bike shop is today – before moving to Estevan village seven years ago. At the time, the Oak Bay Avenue site had already marked decades as a barbershop.

“It was the longest-running barbershop in Victoria until I came over here,” he says.

As it is, it looks like he’s been here forever.

A row of ball caps lines the ceiling, above a collection of paper money from around the globe – mostly dropped off by his long-standing customers – newspaper clippings and assorted memorabilia. A Steve Nash jersey – a gift from another long-time client – dresses the far wall while a new addition to the decor is a special Oak Bay Barbershop cycling jersey and shorts set.

A comfortable couch faces the two barber chairs, a place for customers to wait their turn and engage in the banter.

Waiting for his turn in the chair last week, realtor Jack Petrie recalled his first meeting with Coxford.

“I remember the first time I met you,” he said. “I had the dog in the car and you weren’t going to cut my hair unless I brought the dog in because it was dog-friendly.”

Many of Happy’s customers started with him when he – and they – were in their 30s. “Now I just get 50 shades of grey,” he jokes.

What has kept him at it all these years?

“Food,” he quips, before adding in all seriousness, “It’s great – I love it.

“Even if I won the lottery, I would still come in two or three hours a day, just to talk to the boys.”

Father of five and grandfather of four, when not manning his shop, Coxsford enjoys lots of walking and cycling with wife Gloria – the duo is dubbed “Happy and Glo,” he notes.

“I really want to thank my guys for 25 years of service and also their wives for getting them in the door in the first place,” Coxford says.

“If the wife doesn’t like the cut, the husband won’t come back.”

 

Stop by the Oak Bay Barber Shoppe this Saturday, when the folk-roots ensemble Bučan Bučan entertains in honour of Happy’s 25th anniversary.

 

 

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

The District of Saanich’s communications team decided to take part in a viral trend on Thursday and photoshopped U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders into a staff meeting photo. (District of Saanich/Twitter)
Bernie Sanders makes guest appearance at Saanich staff meeting

Sidney firefighters jump on viral trend of photoshopped U.S. senator

A worker covers up racist graffiti along the West Shore Parkway. (Courtesy of Anna Young)
RCMP investigating racist graffiti spotted off West Shore Parkway

Hateful vandalism is rare, says Langford bylaw enforcement

Greater Victoria Emergency Response Team and Victoria police executed a high-risk warrant arrest on Jan. 22. (Black Press Media file photo)
Victoria police arrest man wanted on multiple warrants

Warrants include drug trafficking, theft and possession of firearms

Crystal Pool and Fitness Centre will reopen Feb. 1 after a nearly 10-month closure to curb the spread of COVID-19. (Black Press Media file photo)
Crystal Pool and Fitness Centre gears up for safe reopening in Victoria

Recreation facility opens Feb. 1 with reservation system to prevent crowding

Coun. Jack McClintock said he would have voted for a proposed statutory holiday recognizing residential school survivors if he had had all of the information. (Black Press Media File)
North Saanich split over statutory holiday recognizing residential school survivors

Legislation would recognize Sept. 30 as National Day of Truth and Reconciliation

Toronto Public Health nurse Lalaine Agarin sets up for mass vaccination clinic in Toronto, Jan. 17, 2021. B.C. is set to to begin its large-scale immunization program for the general public starting in April. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Frank Gunn
B.C.’s COVID-19 mass vaccinations expected to start in April

Clinics to immunize four million people by September

Angela Waldick is the new team photographer for the Nanaimo NightOwls. (Nanaimo NightOwls photo)
Half-blind photographer will help new Island baseball team look picture-perfect

Nanaimo NightOwls say legally blind team photographer is making history

School District 57 headquarters in Prince George. (Mark Nielsen, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter)
Prince George school district settles with sexual abuse victim

Terms were part of an out-of-court settlement reached with Michael Bruneau, nearly four years after he filed a lawsuit

Surrey provincial court. (File photo: Tom Zytaruk)
New COVID-19 protocols set for provincial courthouses

The new rules were issued on Jan. 21, and took effect immediately

Dog owners, from left, Marlyn Briggs with Nayla, Marjory Sutherland with Effie and Mick, and Christina Godbolt with Conon walk their pets frequently at the Chemainus Ball Park but are growing increasingly concerned about drugs being found discarded in the area. (Photo by Don Bodger)
Puppy rushed to emergency 3 times after ingesting drugs in Chemainus public spaces

Dog owners walking in Chemainus parks urged to take caution

Police in Vancouver looking for male suspect who allegedly spat and attacked a store manager for not wearing a mask, at 7-Eleven near Alma Street and West 10th Avenue just before noon on Dec. 17, 2020. (Vancouver police handout)
VIDEO: Man spits on 7-Eleven manager over mask rule, sparking Vancouver police probe

‘Unfortunately, the store manager sustained a cut to his head during the assault’

The Vancouver-based SAR team successfully rescued two lost snowshoers off of the west side of Tim Jones Peak in the early morning of Monday, Jan. 19. (North Shore Rescue photo)
B.C.’s busiest SAR team raises alarm after 2021 begins with fatality, multiple rescues

‘People beyond ski resort areas of Seymour, Grouse, and Cypress go without cell reception,’ SAR warns

Police are searching for an alleged sex offender, Nicole Edwards, who they say has not returned to her Vancouver halfway house. (Police handout)
Police hunt for woman charged in ‘horrific’ assault who failed to return to Surrey halfway house

Call 911 immediately if you see alleged sex offender Nicole Edwards, police say

A screenshot from a local Instagram account video. The account appeared to be frequented by Mission students, and showed violent videos of students assaulting and bullying other students.
Parents, former students describe ‘culture of bullying’ in Mission school district

Nearly two dozen voices come forward speaking of abuse haunting the hallways in Mission, B.C.

Most Read