Business Spotlight:

Shop aims to be a cut above

Floyd’s 99 Barbershop allows customers to listen to music and play pool in addition to getting a haircut and a shave.

July 01, 2009|By Michael J. Arvizu

For those who want good music and a party atmosphere, Hard Rock Cafe might be a pretty good choice.

For a good haircut and a shave, perhaps a local barbershop or salon.

But for good music, a party atmosphere and a haircut and shave?

Floyd’s 99 Barbershop.

The new barbershop, which opened Thursday at 1040 Hollywood Way in Burbank, offers the amenities of a good barbershop, plus old-school looks, such as leather barber chairs and hot-lather shaves. The walls are decorated with a collage of cover art from Nirvana, Metallica, the Rolling Stones and Marilyn Manson. The Beatles get their own wall.


While waiting to get that haircut, color or shave, customers can shoot a couple of rounds of pool while listening to the shop’s carefully selected playlist featuring music from the ’60s to today, which is also broadcast live on the Internet at

The Burbank location marks the chain’s ninth in Los Angeles and first in Burbank after popping up in Studio City, Encino, Hollywood, West Los Angeles, Mar Vista, Venice, Hermosa Beach and on Melrose Avenue, said co-founder Bill O’Brien, who attended Thursday’s grand opening with his brothers Rob, Paul and Tom.

Veterans of the food service industry, the Denver residents wanted to branch out and explore other business opportunities. The brothers decided to begin their venture in cosmetology due to their personal experiences looking for a place to get a haircut, only to wait two hours for an appointment.

While the brothers knew next to nothing about hair care, they are pretty good at managing people, Rob O’Brien said. To make up for their lack of knowledge in cosmetology, the brothers used the resources of those they knew in the industry to gain knowledge and insight into what would make a great barbershop: “Easy scheduling, good hours, good music,” Rob O’Brien said.

Bill O’Brien said he believes that before Floyd’s, there was a niche missing in terms of low-end and high-end barbershops. The brothers wanted to find a middle ground where they could provide a great service at an affordable price for men, women and families.

“There’s probably 300 places that you can get your hair cut in one square mile here, and the only way to really make a difference is to treat people right,” said Regional Manager Sam Mowbray.

At Floyd’s, cuts, coloring and shaves are available, and customers receive a neck shave after every haircut. This is finished off with a shoulder massage.

All of this is included in the price of a haircut.

Floyd’s also offers incentives for its employees, including health insurance and paid vacations, Paul O’Brien said.

“We wanted to create a place where we’d like to go but also create a great environment people would like to work in,” Rob O’Brien said. “One of the biggest challenges we were told of when we started in the hair business was getting people to work for you. So we created a great environment for people to work in.”

As she prepared Burbank Mayor Gary Bric for a trim, Floyd’s manager, Natalie Wegner, lauded the laid-back atmosphere of the salon.

“Just walking in here, it’s fun and comfortable. It’s not uptight. We try to keep it real down to earth and exciting,” she said.

The formula had already earned them an early fan in the form of Burbank’s top city official.

“It’s fantastic. I’ve never seen anything like this in my life,” Bric said. “I look forward to seeing the final results.”

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