No shortcuts, even after 50 years
When one enters Cropo’s Barber Shop on Boston Avenue, one is greeted by the familiar scents of hair tonic, talc and Barbicide. And while familiar scents are a sure trigger to treasured memories, so are familiar faces.
Nancy Landry has been working at Cropo’s Barber Shop for 50 years in May. She was hired by Carl “Cropo” LeBlanc in 1967 and acquired ownership after his passing.
“I was interested in cutting hair,” Landry said of her choice to enter the barber profession.
“When you got a license at first, you got an apprentice license; and, you had to work under a master barber for 18 months before you took another test to become a master barber.”
Landry attended a barber school on College Street in Beaumont for seven months to secure her apprenticeship. From there, she went to work for LeBlanc at Nederland’s only three-chair barbershop.
“I love my guys,” Landry said of the clientele. “I love shooting my bull with these guys.”
Landry also had the distinction of being the first female barber in Nederland when she was hired on in ’67. She was only 21 at the time.
“There was a lady barber in Port Neches and one in Groves,” Landry recalled. “Then I came on and was the first (female) barber in Nederland.”
As might be expected of a young woman entering a predominately male profession at the time, there was a period of adjustment for Landry to go through before she would be considered “one of the guys.”
“Back then it was a challenge,” she said. “These guys didn’t take to me much at first. But I won them over.”
When asked what won them over, Landry simply responded, “My gift of gab. I’m a huge sports fan. I wear a Nederland shirt every day.”
Landry also likes to attend local Nederland games, whether they are football, basketball, baseball, or anything in between. Apparently, some of that may have had to do with her former boss.
“(LeBlanc) loved Nederland, and I think it rubbed off on me,” Landry said. “I do basketball, football, little league night; I do them all.”
When LeBlanc died in 2001, Landry took over the shop.
“He taught me a lot,” she said. “I was 21 when I came to work over here.”
While she was cutting the hair of a client, Landry shared some of her wisdom on good customer service.
“Just give good service,” she said. “Make sure this guy who sits in the chair for 20 minutes you take care of. We don’t answer our cell phones when (we cut); we just take care of this guy in the barber chair.”
On Monday, the Nederland City Council recognized Landry not only for her 50 years of service to the barbershop, but also to the greater Nederland community.
“Nancy is an avid Bulldog fan of all sports and has supported local youth recreational leagues of all types,” city manager Chris Duque said during Monday’s meeting.
“She has generously donated to countless benefits and given much of her time and energy to promote Nederland’s small business community.”
Monday was designated Nancy Landry Day in Nederland.
“It was very nice to be honored by the city I love so much,” Landry said. “It’s just a bunch of good people. Good business community, too.”