Mr. Henry: Still Going Strong at 85 Years Young!
last visited Mr. Henry for a chat last year, but our conversation never made it into the paper. When I went back recently for an update he was quick to let me know that he was not very happy about not making last year’s special
Henry Boyd Jr. is still barbering after 64 years in the business. He opens every morning (except Sunday) at 7 a.m. and closes at 1 p.m.. Henry’s Barbershop, is a virtual museum – from the countless back-in-the-day images that adorn the walls reflecting Black Buffalo in its heyday, to some of the fixtures around the shop. Its a historical landmark at 565 Jefferson Avenue near Broadway.
Mr. Henry, originally from Alabama, came to Buffalo in 1947. He started out cutting hair in 1951 part time at Ferguson’s Beauty Supply which used to be next door to where he is currently located.
“I would cut hair and Mr. Ferguson did the beauty supplies. I was his partner. And in 1953 I came out of the plant at Bethlehem Steel and started barbering full time,” said Mr. Henry. He said he charged $1.25 for his first haircut . That was around the going rate. The community in which he works today is a far cry from the vibrant business strip, decades ago.
“There were a lot more businesses,” recalled Mr. Henry. “There was a gas station on three corners and a drug store on the other ...abering trends have also changed he sa“Back then the ‘process’ (a chemical process to straighten the hair) was going on big...but I never did it. Then the bush came out, then the crew cut.” He then pointed to one of the many posters and photos around the show showing the popular cuts “back in the day.”
Mr. Henry, who still repairs clippers and “ stoves” for beauticians,” pointed to a photo on his wall depicting the various styles “back in the day.” He also had fond memories of the Barbers Club and their annual balls at the old Statler Hilton.
His advice for young barbers today? “Get up and come to work on time,” said Mr. Henry. “And be presentable.” He noted that he is open daily from 7 a.m. to 1 p.m. and still has customers who’ve been with him over 50 years.
Mr. Henry said that he likes to work solo, and is the only one in his shop. “I love what I do...” he said smiling, “it’s all about the friends, the conversations and making people look good.” –a.b.