AT A time when small businesses are under the cosh, one family-run barbers shop in Hayes Town is celebrating reaching a rare milestone – its 50th year in business.
Nick’s Mens Hair Stylists in Clayton Road, Hayes, was opened in October 1961 by Nick Joachim, who moved to London from his native Cyprus four years earlier to work at his uncle’s hairdressers in Southall.
At a time when Hayes was a centre of heavy industry – with EMI, Fairey Aviation, British Electric Transformers and other large factories all close by – Nick’s was once in a prime spot to catch passing trade.
“These streets used to be very busy; thousands of workers walked past every day, and you had time to talk and get to know them,” said Mr Joachim.
“Hayes Town was almost self-policing then, but things have got worse and now there is a lot of crime.
“We used to charge two shillings for a cut – I had to do a lot of haircuts to pay the rent.”
The big, bustling factories have long since moved to pastures new, and in their place is a town centre in need of a major uplift.
Nowadays, a trim at Nick’s will set you back just £6.50, and a cutthroat wet shave is £7.
Mr Joachim, now 72, still cuts hair alongside his daughter Helleni, 47, and son Alex, 35.
The no-frills barbers is homely and has an unmistakably 'authentic' feel, something which has made it appealing as a location for adverts, such as the recent Silver Spoon ‘Half Spoon’ sugar in 2010.
Mr Joachim lives locally with his wife, Daphne, and they celebrated their golden wedding anniversary last September.
As long-standing traders in Hayes the family has championed the interests of local businesses.
They, with other businesses at the time, fought hard against the pedestrianisation of the town centre in the early 1990s, and their perseverance paid off when Station Road partially reopened in 2002, but Mr Joachim said that the town has been in decline since traffic was first diverted.
He said: “There used to be a good selection of shops in the town centre – tailors, butchers, a bakery – and now they are all gone.
“It hurt everyone in business here.”
Despite the challenges over the years, Nick’s has lasted the distance, and many friends made in previous decades have stayed loyal to the small shop.
“We have seen lots of people come and go but we still have regular customers from the very beginning.
“People travel from all over England to visit, and we have even had old customers come in who now live in Canada and Australia.
“We are like one big family – some of our customers are on their fourth generation to come to our shop.
“We would like to thank all of our customers old and new for their loyalty and continued support.”