Provo barber Reid Francom has been cutting hair for three decades and he has no plans to quit any time soon.
“That’s what my parents would always say, anytime you move you need to find a good mechanic and a good barber,” the man in the chair said while getting his hair trimmed. “You’re half the equation, Reid.”
The man in the chair was Benjamin Bright, a long-time client of third-generation barber Reid Francom.
Every weekday at 8 a.m., 47-year-old Reid opens up his little, one-chair barbershop in the basement of his Provo home. It is where he has been cutting hair ever since he left BYU, but he and his family have been barbering long before that.
“It’s been a good career for 30 years,” Reid said. “Starting this summer it will be 30 years when I decided to go into barbering.”
Reid first began cutting hair in 1995 while working at his uncle’s barbershop in Salt Lake City and attending beauty school. He explained that almost all the men in three generations were barbers, including his grandfather, father, multiple uncles, three of his brothers and himself.
Reid said he grew up surrounded by the world of barbery and heard countless stories from his family about different people they had met during their tenure.
After high school, Reid’s father asked him what he planned to do with his life. Reid said he had decided to follow the family tradition of barbery.
Reid started working as soon as he could while in school pursuing his career.
“I was actually still learning how to cut hair; I was still in (beauty) school when on Saturdays I would go work at my uncle’s shop and learn how to barber,” Reid said.
While in beauty school, Reid shared he was never really taught much about how to barber, so he would go on Saturdays and learn from the older, experienced barbers, even if it was not exactly allowed. He chuckled as he described the experience as his “internship.”
Reid explained that at the age of 18, he was already making connections and building bridges through his work as a barber. One incredible opportunity arose as Reid was cutting hair for extras in the movie “Independence Day.”
He was able to convince the movie runner to let him be in the movie. Reid can be seen somewhere in the crowd listening to the president’s speech.
“I actually got to help Bill Pullman out of his airplane like, I don’t know, 40 times,” Reid said. “I guess they thought I was a good match.”
After working at his uncle’s shop for several years during beauty school, Reid began his career at the BYU Barbershop. It was here that Reid first met movie star, BYU sports ad voiceover and Allstate spokesman Dennis Haysbert. Haysbert’s younger brother had played football for BYU during 1983 and 1984 and had reportedly told Dennis that he had to check out the BYU Barbershop.
At the time, Reid said that he had no idea who the star was and passed him off to another barber because he didn’t feel like cutting overly curly hair at the time.
“My motto is you never want to turn anybody down for a haircut because they might be a movie star,” he said.
Though he has brushed shoulders with many important pop culture figures, Reid still makes time for his regulars like Bright. Bright cites quality and consistency as the two biggest reasons for his returning to Reid over the years.
Bright first met Reid at the BYU Barbershop. Bright’s usual barber was on vacation, so he took the next available barber, Reid. Bright has now been a client of Reid for 21 years.
“He’s been amazing,” Bright said. “Honestly we’ve built a friendship over the years.”
Bright said the only time in the last “20-some-odd years” that Reid didn’t cut his hair was while Bright was on his mission in Brazil. He said Reid’s haircuts were desperately missed.
Reid’s nephew Wyatt Cragun is a member of the new generation looking to go into the world of barbery. He said he has been inspired by Reid and his family as they foster relationships with the people they help.
“Watching them cut hair and (seeing) how they could connect with people really inspired me,” Wyatt said.
Wyatt said he admires how Reid pays attention to small details during his cuts and attributes that to his success.
“Listening to what a client has said, giving life advice, throwing in a free extra service or simply being a friend can make a big difference,” Wyatt said.
Reid always ends his haircuts the same way, with two extra services that all his clients know him for. After he finishes their cuts and shaves their short hair at the base of the head, Reid pulls out an industrial vacuum to suck up the cut hairs straight from the client’s head. He then finishes with a massage gun to help loosen up the client’s shoulders before removing the apron and letting them up.
At 8:30 a.m. sharp, Bright’s appointment had ended and he cleared out of the room. There was not a moment of silence. A quiet knock came from the basement door, the next appointment walked in and Reid welcomed him with a smile as he sat him down in the lone chair.