Henry Franco
Paul Wellman

As Father’s Day approaches, take note: Members Only Barber Shop isn’t precisely what its name suggests. Sure, proprietor Henry Franco has plenty of steady customers who enjoy the personalized perks of membership. But his door is also open to nonmembers, including those who deserve proper treatment on their official day of dadhood.

A comfortable and semiprivate storefront half a block off downtown State Street, Franco’s shop is a cutting-edge throwback. On one hand, he offers highly refined cutting, styling, and shaving services in a traditional setting. On the other, he says he’s brought men’s grooming into the 21st century.

“I know I give a damn good haircut,” he said recently. “But what I really enjoy is doing the full shave and haircut and really talking to you about taking care of your skin and your hair. It’s really about aspects of health.”

In that respect, the 74-year-old Franco draws from 55 years of professional experience, much of it gained while training with some of the best in men’s grooming, such as Redken cofounder Jheri Redding (credited with inventing modern-day hair conditioner) and pioneering celebrity stylist Jay Sebring (who later died, along with girlfriend Sharon Tate, at the murderous hands of the Manson Family), among many others. Franco also tapped industry advances during his seven years on the board of directors of the Associated Master Barbers and Beauticians of America.

He credits much of his success to staying abreast of the very latest techniques and products associated with hair and skin care. And he’s eager to pass on what he knows, he says, from proper beard maintenance and shaving pointers to hair cleansing and simple at-home scalp massages that boost the sort of circulation that could keep you from balding prematurely.

“It’s really a partnership I have with my customers, teaching them how to take care of themselves, so I can do a better job when they come into the shop,” he said. “It’s a win-win.”

Members Only Barber Shop is located at 27½ East Victoria Street. Call 965-1845. Appointments only. See membersonlybarbershop.com.


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