It’s been difficult to keep up with Robin Gladney and the customers who patronize her barbershop here in Elsberry for the past few months.
Gladney, who has operated her business at 318 Broadway for the last three years, recently decided it was time for a change of scenery.
“My lease expired at the Broadway location after I’d been there almost three years,” said Gladney. “My husband and I didn’t think there was a need to sign another lease because we’d made arrangements to buy the buildings next door at 314 Broadway.”
But those buildings were old and in need of serious renovation.
“Fixing those buildings has been an interesting process full of every clique you’ve ever heard of,” said Gladney. “We’ve done quite a bit of work on the front of the building and we’re also bricking the back. In addition, my husband Jason is fixing the roof. That’s a deal-breaker with him. He won’t allow me to work there until the roof is completely repaired.”
Since there was to be some time between the end of her lease and the completed renovation at her new location, Gladney’s original plan was to take a break and return again at the start of 2014.
However, it was at that point Gladney learned just how seriously people in Elsberry take their local barbershop.
“When I put up the sign saying ‘I’ll Be Back In January’ I got a lot of response,” said Gladney. “People even called me at home to tell me they couldn’t make it until January without a haircut. It was sad for them to think they wouldn’t have a barbershop in Elsberry, however temporary that scenario might be.”
To remedy that situation, Gladney moved to a temporary location at 109 N. Main.
“Jason relocated me here pretty quickly,” said Gladney.
Gladney said as soon as the renovation is complete she will move to the new location at 314 Broadway permanently.
Although Gladney reopened her business just three years ago, her history with Elsberry actually goes back quite a bit further than that.
“I’m originally from Florida but I moved to Elsberry and became the town barber in 1990,” said Gladney.
Gladney originally worked out of a shop attached to the Gladney Ford Dealership, which stood where People’s Bank & Trust is now located.
“After I married Jason and we started our family I decided I wanted to stay home with my children,” said Gladney. “I was home with our five kids for 16 years and now I’ve been back cutting hair for the last three. When I first started cutting hair here in town I had a pretty consistent group of male clients who would sometimes bring their children as well. One of the really neat things about coming back was that those children became my new clients as adults. Sadly, a lot of my original customers have now passed away, but I get to work with their sons, grandsons and in some cases even granddaughters.”
Gladney said she came back to work because she missed her clients.
“It’s interesting work and I get to hear a lot about the history of Elsberry,” said Gladney. “The people here are very nice. They worry about you when you’re sick and they always want to know you’re ok. It’s just an easy-going environment.”
Gladney describes living and working in Elsberry as something akin to a fairytale.
“I met Jason, we fell in love and now here I am happily ever after,” said Gladney. “This is a great town to live and work in. No matter where you go in Elsberry people are always good to you.”