Tools of the Trade: Barber Shops

Throughout the month of June 2020 we will feature local businesses related to the new Tools of the Trade special exhibit now on display at the History Museum. The exhibit will run through October 12, 2020, and features the past tools and objects of various trades. The museum is open daily from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. 

Sikes Barber Shop aka Broadway Barber Shop

At the young age of 13, Miles Leeman “M.L.” Sikes started cutting hair in 1911 on a porch step in Cobbtown, Georgia. M.L. moved to Kissimmee in 1922; in 1924 he worked in the Ideal Barber Shop with G.F. Brooks. By 1944, Sikes Barber Shop opened on Broadway, with M.L. claiming the chair nearest the window. M.L.’s son Charles joined him four years later and took the second chair. Many old-timers would wait for M.L. rather than have Charles cut their hair. Many generations of boys were taken to Sikes Barber Shop for their first haircut.

Charles bought the business in the mid-1970s. M.L. died in 1976; Charles ran The Broadway Barber Shop for 50 years. In 1979, getting a shave with a straight razor was a vanishing art, but Charles claimed to be one of the few barbers left who would do it. Customers always knew they could not only get a haircut or shave but also catch up on the current political problems or gossip of the day.

Broadway Barber Shop was taken over by Marvin Haven in 1987; he ran it until it closed following his death in 2007.

Written by Anza Bast.

Sources:  “Orlando Sentinel” September 12, 1976, December 2, 1979, April 8, 2007, October 16, 2008.

1924/1925, 1944/1945 Kissimmee city directories.