Cox marks 50 years in barbershop business

When Larry Cox first began cutting hair at his barber shop on Jan. 1, 1969, gas was sold for 17-cents per gallon and he sold haircuts for $1.50. Today, at Cox’s Barber Shop haircuts go for $12. Beyond that, not much has changed.
New Year’s day marked Cox’s 50th year in business as a barber in Ash Grove. His barbershop is still in the same location where he began, and he still cuts hair the same way he has for the past five decades. Indeed, his barbershop reflects an era which has all but disappeared in modern times.
“There’s very few of these old-fashioned barbershops around,” he said. “There’s not very many at all.”
When Cox graduated from Ash Grove High School in 1968, he was 17-years old. He wanted to work at a factory in Springfield, but was too young.
“Back then, you had to be 18 to get a job at a factory in Springfield,” he said. “So, I couldn’t get a job any place.”
Cox’s brother, who was already a barber, suggested he go into the same line of work.
“He just said to me, ‘Why don’t you go to barber school?’” Cox said. “And, I said, ‘Okay.’ All you had to have was a diploma, so that’s what I did. I went to Kansas City, went to school, got out, came back to work.”
Cox credits the longevity of his career to his customers. He gets a lot of repeat business, and said three families have been coming to him for five generations for haircuts.
“I’ve got good customers, and they’ve been faithful to me, coming back to get their hair cut. That’s a lot of it, and I really enjoy it, because I enjoy talking to different people every day.”Cox’s barbershop is not just a place of business. Cox said he has a lot of rapport with his customers.
“We have a pretty good time in here,” he said. “We joke and laugh, and it’s just the people who come in. And, I think you get to know them, not just as customers, but as friends also.”
One of Cox’s customers, a school teacher, had a novel idea on how barbershops could play a role in education.
“He told me, ‘Larry, I think that the schools ought to make kids come to barbershops for two years, because if they’ll just sit down here and listen, they’ll learn a lot,’” Cox said.
Clayton Coble, one of Cox’s regulars, joked that he has to come to Cox for a haircut because Cox is the only barber in town, but also said that when he gets a haircut from Cox, he enjoys the time spent in the barbershop.
“I just enjoy having a conversation,” he said. “Going down to the barbershop, no telling what you might hear down here. And, I get a good haircut.”
For most of his career, Cox has run his barbershop by himself, but about 19 years ago, his son Kyle began working with him. Kyle went to work at City Utilities in Springfield two years ago, but Cox said he still lends a hand.
“He still helps me part-time now on the weekends,” Cox said. “Bails me out, you might say.”
Cox said he is grateful to his customers for keeping him in business so long.
“I’d just like to thank my customers over the years, because without them, I couldn’t be here,” he said.



Lawrence County Record

312 S. Hickory St.
Mt. Vernon, MO, 65712


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