BAYTOWN, Texas – For over 100 years, the entrance to the Houston ship channel, at the mouth of the San Jacinto River, has been at the doorstep of Baytown.
Settled as early as 1822, Baytown has rich history in oil and gas production and all the hardworking folks who keep churning out Texas tea need a place to get cleaned up every once a while. Fortunately, there’s the Trophy Barber Shop.
Chris Roux was born and raised in Baytown and he’s passionate about being the caretaker and owner of this eclectic old school institution that’s been around since Kennedy was president.
“1962 values and traditions to me means that, not only are we going to be excited that you’re walking through our door but, we’re going to be proud to give you great service and bring your family and we’ll take great care of them too,” said Chris.
Chris is passing along the principles established by the barber who started the Trophy Barber Shop back in the day, Jimmy Carpenter. You see, Jimmy enjoyed taking a little off the top for customers and taking a bit more off the top of his hunting trophies.
“I tell people I have a twelve-foot polar bear in my shop,” Chris said. “It’s very hard to explain.”
Legend has it that Jimmy’s wife was tired of having such massive mounts in her home, so Jimmy took them to work and a Baytown institution was created. For over 50 years, nothing has changed.
“These are the original chairs, the original pictures, everything’s original in here,” said Chris. “All the animals are original. We don’t add animals, we don’t buy animals, would never do anything like that to disgrace the name of Jimmy Carpenter and the Baytown icon he’s created.”
John Carpenter is as close to this story as the fade on his hair because Jimmy was his great uncle.
“It was a real big thing, especially as a young boy to come in here and see all this,” John said. “That’s what he loved to do. He was just a barber by trade, so that’s how this all came together in a roundabout fashion.”
Known for his flannel blue hunting shirt and sense of humor – I mean who puts a deer in their car? Jimmy realized that each of his hunts created more business and more business created more hunting. In total, you’ll find 155 exotics and 100 in-state mounts. As for the racks –
“There are 755 racks of deer antlers hanging through the middle of the shop,” said Chris. “They actually blocked Texas Avenue when Jimmy had that bear mounted. He drove in a convertible, had the bear in the back of that car while he paraded it down Texas Avenue and people lined up down the street to watch.”
Now that had to be a sight to see.
Johnny Reyes is the most seasoned stylist in the barber shop. He could hang up his clippers but something keeps bringing him back.
“I’ve been cutting hair for a hundred years,” Johnny said. “I’m retired now, so I come in here because I miss the place, you know. Gotta come in here and see it.”
Daniel Hodges has been cutting hair since he was 15.
“From what I understand, I’m sure almost everybody in the city of Baytown’s probably been in here. If not, a majority of them have,” Daniel said. “Oh I’ve heard lots of crazy stories. Relationship stories are probably the best.”
He too appreciates the history of this place while experiencing the traditional service and talking a bit about life.
“Take a look back from where you’re at and you start to realize, you know what? This is a pretty awesome shop. You know, not every barber shop works like this, or I’ve been blessed to work for one, you know? I enjoy working here,” said Daniel. “[The barber shop] feels that’s the way it should be, and I think the city of Baytown feels the same way.”
You do start to feel life at a slower pace. Then the aftershave hits. So come in for clean-up, and leave getting to see a barber shop that’s been a way of life for generations of Texans.
“I don’t think traditions and values ever get old,” Chris said. “I don’t think treating people right ever gets old, and as long as people want to get good service, good haircuts, be treated right, I think we’ll be around for a long time.”