Gandy Barber and Beauty Shop recently relocated to Britton Plaza Shopping Center after 50 years on Gandy Boulevard.
Tony Hollett, 63, of Brandon, a longtime barber at the shop, said they moved just 1.5 miles away due to construction, but miss their old digs. Their target date to open was Sept. 3.
“It will be a new challenge for us,” he said. “It’s sad to move out of a place. It’s been a Tampa landmark for 50 years.”
Hollett’s role will change – from employee to business partner – with the move to 3824 South Dale Mabry Hwy. He will become the lease holder at the new location after working under owner Steve Karekos, 78, for more than a decade.
Karekos bought Gandy Barber, 3678 Gandy Blvd., Tampa, about 20 years ago.
Karekos of South Tampa said the new location will give them more visibility since it’s a high-traffic area. Britton Plaza Shopping Center is an open-air shopping plaza with a Publix grocery store.
For Karekos, the move back to the Fair Oaks/Manhattan Manor neighborhood of Tampa brings him full circle.
“I used to work there 20 years ago when there was a Britton Plaza barbershop,” Karekos said.
He said most of the customers come to them for military cuts, flattops, crew cuts, fads and close shaves with razors and hot lather.
“We have a lot of loyal customers who are old-school,” he said. “They bring their children and grandchildren.”
Hollett, who is originally from England, said the old-fashioned barbershop with the iconic pole is here to stay. He owned a barbershop in England before moving to Tampa in 1983.
“Barbers and beauticians are a different breed of hair-cutting,” he said. “This is an art that so far has not been computerized. People like the feel of that old barbershop. People like the consistency and familiarity.”
Hollett and Karekos are the full-time barbers, but they also work with a part-time female barber, Terry Bash of South Tampa.
Hollett said some people might be surprised to learn they do have female customers who want shorter haircuts.
“Today I had a lady with midlength hair down her back,” he said. “She had a complete shaved hair cut – by choice. Maybe it was the hot weather. She was fed up with it.”
Besides cutting hair and providing shaves, barbershops are meeting places where people can gather to talk, Hollett said.
“You have three or four generations of people coming into this shop,” he said. “You know the father, grandfather, son, grandson,” he said.
For more information, call (813) 839-2765.