50 Years Strong-Cloverleaf Barber And Beauty Supply

admin Thursday, May 30, 2024 Comments Off on 50 Years Strong-Cloverleaf Barber And Beauty Supply
50 Years Strong-Cloverleaf Barber And Beauty Supply

Philip and Donna Hale

Philip Hale, 73, saw a need in the barber world 50 years ago and filled it. It all started when Hale’s aunt, who owned a 12-chair shop in Alaska, asked him if he’d ever thought about opening up a barbershop supply store in Southwest Louisiana. He hadn’t, but he decided that’s exactly what he was going to do.

He started slow, servicing local barbershops once a week before opening Cloverleaf Barber and Beauty Supply with his parents in 1973. Why Cloverleaf? Because the intersection loop at interstate 10 and Ruth St. looked a bit like a clover to Philip’s father.

“I’ll never forget a beauty supply owner in Lake Charles told me I’d never make it if I focused on the barbershops,” Philip says. “They said a salon will buy a case of hairspray, but barbers will only buy one single bottle.” So, he bought a van, built shelves inside and decided he would deliver to the barbershops whatever they needed — even if what they needed was only one bottle of hairspray.

Now Philip and his wife, Donna, service 127 barbershops from Lafayette to Many. The couple met when they were both single parents to two-year-old boys. “We were best friends first. 

I fell in love with him before he fell in love with me,” says Donna. They lived together as friends raising their sons. “She worked at Bonanza back then,” Philip says. “She was the cashier with the long, brown hair that everyone knew.”

They had an arrangement; Donna would buy the groceries and keep the house up while Philip worked at Cloverleaf and played in a band to make ends meet. It didn’t take long for them to start dating, and in 1986 they got married. “It’s been an amazing ride,” Donna says.

The couple love going on cruises with their sons and grandchildren. “I tell everyone, you can’t be rich if you do what we do, but you can make a living.” As a rule, the Hales don’t leave town for more than seven days a time so as not to leave their barbers high and dry. 

Philip still plays the drums. He’s been a member of Creole Cookin’ for over 40 years; you can often find the band at the Boudin Hut in Port Arthur or Val’s Lounge on Kirkman Street. “I played with Alan Jackson once. That was awesome,” he says.

He describes himself as an “old time peddler.” He sharpens shears and animal clippers and works on hydraulic chairs. If a barber needs it, he sells it. If it breaks, he can fix it.  

“Philip works on broken chairs; he sharpens our blades and shears. Anything a barber needs, they’ve got it,” says Troy Darby, owner of Hollywood Barber Shop in Sulphur. Darby’s late father Doisey Darby opened Hollywood Barbershop with his partner Hoyt Davis back in 1957.  “Cloverleaf is one of the few barbershop supply stores in the eight-parish area. I don’t know what we’re going to do when he retires,” says Darby. “The Hales are great people — dependable and trustworthy.”

Recently, Philip had four stents placed in his heart, a neck fusion, fluid in his lungs and became unable to walk, all within a short 16-month time frame. “I didn’t know if I was going to live or die,” he says. 

For the first time, Donna took over the delivery duties, but she’s had her own set of challenges. She suffers from severe arthritis in both knees as a result of playing sports when she was younger. On the days she’s not delivering, Donna has 90-minute physical therapy sessions.

“It’s been hard, but we’ve been able to be successful because we put God first,” Philip says. The couple are involved in their local church, where Philip spent 12 years on the worship team.

Recently a customer called Philip asking to purchase a new charger for his clippers. “I called the company,” he says, “but they told me they don’t sell just the charger.” The customer would’ve had to buy a whole new set of clippers. Instead, Philip told him to send the charger back with Donna after she made her delivery so he could work on it. That sort of service and care is rare today, and Cloverleaf’s customers recognize it. 

“Even after what we’ve been through, we’ve been able to be successful because we do stuff no one else does. At the chains you’re just a number, but not at Cloverleaf. At Cloverleaf we treat you like family.”

Cloverleaf Beauty Supply is located at 4108 Areno Road in Sulphur. For more information, call 337-528-2923  

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