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

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.

 

 

Just Posted

Shaving minutes off commutes among the goals for Victoria bus lanes

Work on southbound Douglas Street lane between Tolmie and Hillside getting underway

Backyard of $2.2M Uplands property bulldozed for BMX jump track

34-year-old financial advisor fulfills childhood dream

VicPD nab distracted driver with expired licence

On the phone while in motion, man had overdue fines from driving while impaired

Gallery: Turnout good for Oak Bay’s inaugural volunteer fare

Oak Bay showcased non-profits and more with inaugural volunteer fair

Vic-Alert faces tidal wave of registration after tsunami warnings

City of Victoria system is free and provides early warnings of disaster

Mature Garry Oak falls on Beach Drive

150-year-old tree blocks access in front of Oak Bay Beach Hotel

Castlegar homicide victim identified

The victim was 38-year-old Jordan Workman of Castlegar, B.C.

B.C. Liberals get one last prime-time pitch

Leadership campaign to be decided in Feb. 3 vote

How high is safe from a tsunami? Four metres above sea level

Be disaster ready with food, water and clothing for seven days

Victoria Film Festival set for triumphant return to the big screen

Two decades on, diverse film lineups keep movie-goers coming to the box office

Victoria’s most wanted for the week of Jan. 23

Crime Stoppers will pay a reward of up to $2,000 for information that leads to arrests or the seizure of property or drug

Andrew Scheer on trade, Trump and Trudeau

Canada’s Conservative leader begins three-day visit to B.C.

Bell Canada alert prompts RCMP, privacy watchdog to probe data breach

Company spokesman: ‘Fewer than 100,000 customers were affected’

Victims restrained, sex toys and cash stolen from B.C. adult store

Armed suspects sought in adult store robbery

Most Read