When Mick Kyriakou walked into a small hairdressing salon in Luton, it was the start of a partnership that was to last more than 50 years.
He had been catapulted to the suburbs, by a blessing in disguise, in the form of a compensation payout to his father, which enabled the family to move from a very poor area of London, to a café with living accommodation in the outskirts of Luton.
Mick, at the time, was halfway through a hairdressing apprenticeship. He found a job with Bill Tildsley who was President of the Luton branch of Hairdressers, and a happy Mick finished his training there.
This salon had a Ladies department, and working there was a young lady called Jennifer, who also was halfway through her training. (Can you see where this is heading..?)
Part of Jennifer’s training required her to walk through the Men’s department, to practice her Marcel Waving (look it up) in the kitchen where there was a gas stove. After the arrival of the devilishly good looking Mick, these trips became more frequent and it was no surprise that she passed her exam, or that they were married two years later.
They worked hard and saved and moved out to a small new estate in Bletchley, which was the start of Milton Keynes, The plan was to buy a Ladies and Gents Hairdressers with flat above it, having employment and home in one place. So one day, Mick went out to go and buy the hairdressers shop of their dreams..He came back owning a Fish and Chip shop.
“Words” were exchanged. You’re all to fragile for us to report the conversation but suffice to say that Jennifer was not entirely delighted with this sudden change of plan!
However, as she was to admit at a much later date, it was a good one, as Mick with his attention to detail and perfection, turned it into a little goldmine. They kept it for 12 years, during which their children Alexia and Andrew were born.
Life was good, the shop was doing well, foreign holidays, new cars and a couple of moves to larger houses followed, together with a good social life.
This all came to an abrupt end when Mick decided that he didn’t want to serve fish and chips all his life, and would like to move upmarket. No amount of persuasion could change his mind. This upmarket move turned out to be a small hotel on Lowestoft seafront
The Eleni V welcomed their first season with an oil slick on the beautiful south beach and I think it’s safe to say, that it all went downhill from there.
They struggled on for some 6 years, not all bad it must be said, they met some lovely people and had some laughs, but neither had worked so hard for so long for so little in their lives.
About 2 years before the sale of the hotel, Mick had seen an empty shop in Suffolk road, and thought it might make a good Hairdressing salon. He spoke to the owner, who was pleased that someone wanted to start a permanent business there, and not short leases like it had in the past and let him move in for a nominal fee.
Mick worked and fitted the salon out with 2 chairs and 1 basin, while Jen ran the hotel, helped by her parents and daughter Lexi at weekends.
On the first day of opening the salon Mick remarked that he hoped he could remember how to do it, having been out of the trade for some 18 years!
In reality he remembered very well; he built the business up from nothing, trained many young hairdressers to a very high standard including his son Andrew who won many competitions, was invited to join the British Team. Andrew won the British championship in 2009.
Mick retired from the business in 1999 to live happily ever after with Jennifer. At this point, Andrew took over and began a whole new era and chapter in the Geezers story.