Entrepreneur: Oscar Accardo
COMPANY: Broadmoor Barber Shop
WHAT HE DOES: Cuts hair
REVENUE: About $1,000 a week
NEXT GOAL: Continue providing the same service he’s been providing for 46 years.
Neighborhood barber shops used to be a place where men could get together, drink coffee and talk about everything from sports to hunting to work. But times have changed and many barber shops have faded away. Broadmoor Barber Shop still hangs on in an old shopping center on Florida Boulevard. The place has all the trappings: racks of battered sports and hunting magazines, vinyl furniture, LSU memorabilia hanging off the walls.
“There are not many places like us,” says Oscar Accardo, 69. “If I stop cutting hair, where are these people going to go? Fantastic Sam’s? We’re a dying breed.”
Accardo tells stories. About the barber who was chatting away while a customer was sleeping in his chair. About the barber who commented to a customer about a good-looking woman who passed by. “I’m her husband,” the customer said. Someone once talked to Accardo about putting together a book of his stories. But Accardo says the real good stuff comes from his customers. “Some of those conversations ... it’s like they’re fighting World War II again,” he says.
Accardo fell into the barber business by accident. In 1962, he was looking for a way to make money. He liked the idea of being a barber because it was a steady trade and indoor work, plus his brother-in-law was in the business and he was doing well. “I was 22 or 23, and I was getting up in age,” he says. “It was time for me to figure out what I was going to do.”
When he started out, it was $1.50 for a haircut and $1.75 for a flat-top. Now, Accardo charges $12. “That’s a lot less than some places,” he says. On a good day, he’ll see 30 customers. “Someone comes in, nine times out of 10 they want the same thing.”
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