Barber celebrating 25 years in business

Brian Cuddihy, who runs Dads and Lads in Dereham, is celebrating the barbershop's 25th anniversary

Brian Cuddihy, who runs Dads and Lads in Dereham, is celebrating the barbershop's 25th anniversary - Credit: Sonya Duncan

If you're a regular in Dereham, at some point you'll have probably noticed customers spilling out the door of a certain barbershop.

That barbers is, of course, Dads and Lads. 

Launched in 1997, Dads and Lads is celebrating 25 years in business, during which time thousands of customers have departed feeling like brand-new people. 

Brian Cuddihy runs Dads and Lads from Glencoe Court in Dereham

Brian Cuddihy runs Dads and Lads from Glencoe Court in Dereham - Credit: Sonya Duncan

Today, the shop remains under the stewardship of owner Brian Cuddihy, who had actually intended to launch a hair-cutting venture elsewhere. 

"I'm originally from Liverpool and had moved to Berkshire, and was supposed to open a place there," he said. 

"One Sunday in 1997 I was in Norfolk and broke down in Dereham. I fell in love with the place and we opened six weeks later."

Fast forward a quarter of a century and Dads and Lads is easily Dereham's best-known barbershop. 

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Competition has certainly hotted up in recent years, with an influx of other barbers moving into town, but the return of loyal customers has kept the business in a healthy position. 

"You sit kids down in the seat, and you look over at dad and think 'blimey, I used to cut your hair too'," added Mr Cuddihy. 

"We have always been child-friendly, and now it is the next generation coming in. I cannot tell you how much I appreciate the loyalty we've had from customers over all those years."

Mr Cuddihy admits plenty has changed since the doors of Dads and Lads first opened. 

The advent of the mobile phone was a "game changer", he said, with customers able to show exactly which version of David Beckham they wanted to look like.

Something he won't miss it post-lockdown haircuts, although they did at least give staff a good chuckle. 

Brian Cuddihy, who runs Dads and Lads in Dereham, is celebrating the barbershop's 25th anniversary

Brian Cuddihy, who runs Dads and Lads in Dereham, is celebrating the barbershop's 25th anniversary - Credit: Sonya Duncan

"We saw some real sights after lockdown," said Mr Cuddihy. 

"The Covid haircut is something I thought I would never see, but it certainly made us and our customers smile."

Reflecting on the past 25 years, the 52-year-old says work has never felt like a chore - but rather an "absolute joy"

He said: "When people come in and we ask 'how you doing?', we really mean it because our customers have become friends. 

And, reserving a special mention for his staff, he added: "Without my staff, we would not have survived this long. It is all about them."