LABELLE — Many people are cheering at the much-awaited reopening of Florida’s barbershops, hair salons and nail salons. In particular, local barber Rick Pope and his cohorts Tony Cannato, Joel Rodriguez are more than excited to finally be reopening. “We reopen tomorrow after seven weeks’ mandatory closure due to COVID-19 restrictions,” said Mr. Pope. “It was a very difficult and frustrating seven weeks. We used the time to make several improvements to the shop, including some remodeling and upgrades to sanitation. We will reopen with extra precautions according to the governor’s orders and the Florida Department of Business and Professional Regulation.”
He has been a professional barber for over 20 years, getting his start from a young age. “My Aunt Pat took me to work with her at a unisex barbershop when other kids were in preschool. I picked it up pretty quickly and I was cutting hair with my friends at 12 years old,” he went on, “I then pushed a broom at Carl’s Barbershop starting at age 15. Carl and Shay from my first barbershop shaped my work ethic.”
When asked about where he finds inspiration, Mr. Pope replied, “My kids are my motivation to succeed in everything I do. My life and everything I do are all about my family. I have two great kids, ages 11 and 15. I am engaged to a smart and beautiful lady who tries to keep me straight!”
Mr. Pope has owned and operated the LaBelle location for six years. With locations in both Historic Downtown LaBelle and Moore Haven, Rick’s Barber Shops are described as old-fashioned shops that offer a unique experience for all ages. “We have a diverse group of clients from all walks of life! Locals, seasonal residents, kids, retirees, blue collar to white collar workers — we cut them all and we appreciate each and every one of them,” Mr. Pope explained. “Making people look good — when a client leaves my chair feeling good … it is so gratifying.”
They have all been working hard to get the shops ready for reopening. “The shop has been fully cleaned. Stations and equipment are sanitized, and extra sanitation measures are in place: masks and gloves, hand sanitizer, disinfectant wipes. All staff have completed training through the Barbicide company, for general sanitation and also for specific COVID-19 regulations. We are also attending the safety training offered this week by the Hendry County Economic Development Council and Health Department,” reported Mr. Pope.
His business philosophy? “It doesn’t matter who they are, just be respectful and treat others the way you want to be treated,” said Mr. Pope. “Rick’s Barber Shops in LaBelle and Moore Haven service all members of the community. We sponsor various local events and groups from schools, sports and churches to Swamp Cabbage and Chalo Nitka.” He went on to say he loved this community due to “the small town connections and feeling of community — like we are all a big extended family.”
Mr. Pope’s hopes for the future, as they work to recuperate from the seven-week closure, are to “continue to build my business, since my son Ricky wants to follow in my footsteps and take over the shop someday.”
“Thank you to LaBelle, Moore Haven, and everyone in the surrounding area who has supported my business over the years,” Mr. Pope added.
For more information you can follow Rick’s Barber Shop in LaBelle and Moore Haven on Facebook, and @barberrickpope on Instagram. To make an appointment, you may call or text 954-448-8475.