The shoelaces are packed up and the scissors are sharpened. The former Hendry’s Shoes, a landmark on Barton Street is now Hendry’s Barbershop.
Though the funky sign remained, for years the former shoe store was in mothballs. But some people have a knack for seeing the promise in the downtrodden and neglected.
Enter Peter Mokrycke, owner of Architect Hair Design on James Street North.
“I knew the building growing up,” Mokrycke says behind the bar of his new business. “St. Ann’s Church, the Polish community, it’s all familiar to me. I want to have a roll in reshaping Barton Street.”
So Mokrycke teamed up with Tyler Pearson of Malleum Partners and the resurrection of Hendry’s began.
“It was a drug den, I have to be honest,” Pearson says at an opening event for the barbershop. “But we believe in restoring the health of Barton Street.”
Mokrycke’s inventive formula of a place offering haircuts and craft beer, in a lounge like setting worked on James Street North and he sees the same arc on Barton.
“The Playhouse Cinema renovation is coming along, the Cotton Factory is nearby, Starpolskie’s deli is great, there’s St. Ann’s and Holy Sprit Church, schools and lots of people living near here. I see this as the next James Street North,” Mokrycke says.
During the one-year renovation they kept uncovering artifacts from the shoe store. Now the posters, and advertising displays for shoes are mounted in a nice shrine to the past. Original wood floors have been brought back, brick exposed and stonewalls repointed and cleaned. It feels like a friendly private club.
The final grace was to get the blessing of the Hendry descendents to use the family name. Both Julia Hendry and Kelly Arnott, daughters of the late shoe king Ted Hendry were at the opening of the barbershop.
“We love seeing the building brought back,” Julia Hendry says.
Hendry’s Barbershop (www.hendrys.ca) is at 661 Barton St. East.

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