Shepard’s Barber Shop

Darold Vanderwerker (left) and owner Leon Apostolo cut hair at Shepardu2019s Barber Shop.

Darold Vanderwerker (left) and owner Leon Apostolo cut hair at Shepardu2019s Barber Shop.

After 38 years of cutting hair, Shepard’s Barber Shop owner Leon Apostolo said the biggest change in the barbershop business is that everybody is in a hurry these days.

Apostolo attributes the change of pace to Conroe’s emerging technology and population growth.

“In the past, people would come in and relax and have conversation,” Apostolo said. “It was slower-paced. Now it’s a rush, rush, rush society. The growth of Conroe has gotten bigger now. It’s not like the sweet little town it once was.”

Serving Conroe for 103 years, Shepard’s Barber Shop was named the oldest barber shop in Montgomery County by the Montgomery County Historical Commission, earning a historical marker on the front of the building. The shop has a wooden rack dating back to 1936, an old soda machine, pictures and news clippings on its walls.

“I’m pretty sure it’s the oldest barber shop in Texas,” Apostolo said, adding he is looking forward to the day his shop receives a historical marker from the state’s historical commission.

The building was known locally as the Little Jack West Building when it was built by Peter West and his son, John Henry “Jack” West, in 1911. It was first used as a barber-shop by Henry R. Williamson in 1912 and later by Stovall Thomas in 1938, according to the MCHC. Bobby Joe Shepard purchased the building in 2000 from the West heirs and operated the shop until he sold it to Apostolo in 2013.

“I have [cut hair] here since I was 17 years old. I figured I might as well own it,” Apostolo said.

Elvis Presley had his hair cut at the shop when he came through Conroe in 1955 for a concert at Conroe High, Apostolo said. Local celebrities, such as country singer Larry Butler and boxer Roy Harris, still get their hair cut at the shop regularly.

Apostolo said he arrives at 6 a.m. every morning, except Sundays and Mondays, turns on the lights and starts cutting hair. He said he has a solid base of faithful customers, who drive many miles to sit in his chair.

“I have one guy who drives here all the way from Baytown about every six weeks for me to cut his hair because he can’t find anybody to give him a flat top,” Apostolo said. “We do hot shaves, also. Here is our little oven where we keep our towels. They come out smokin’ hot.”

Steve Ehrman was so relaxed in Apostolo’s chair that he was napping while getting a trim.

“I love it because it’s like walking into Mayberry [the setting of “The Andy Griffith Show”],” Ehrman said. “Today, I got here at 11 a.m. and waited behind four other people for Leon.”

Despite the hair cutters loyal customers, Apostolo said barbershops are a dying breed.

“Most of them are chains and run you through like an assembly line, get you out in about five minutes and send you on your way,” Apostolo said. “As far as old-fashioned barber shops go, we’re vanishing.”

116 Simonton St., Conroe
Hours: Tue.-Sat. 6 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Closed Sundays and Mondays


Bocca Italian Kitchen serves seasonal, Italian-inspired dishes, such as polenta and various pastas. (Courtesy Marco Torres)
Italian eateries open in Generation Park; Houston bike lane fines enforced and more local news

Read the latest business and community news from the Houston area.

The independent pharmacy went through 500 doses of the Moderna vaccine in nine days. (Eva Vigh/Community Impact Newspaper)
Magnolia Pharmacy aims to open volunteer-run COVID-19 vaccine clinic Jan. 22

If everything goes according to plan, the clinic could administer 200-400 doses per day to those who qualify, regardless of their county of residency.

Officials expect demand for the vaccine will be huge once it opens to the general public. (Courtesy Adobe Stock)
Montgomery County plans vaccine distribution; FDA warns of false negatives and more top Houston-area news

Read the most popular stories from the past week from the Houston area.

Hundreds of positive COVID-19 case reports among Conroe ISD students and employees have been recorded so far this year. (Courtesy Adobe Stock)
Conroe ISD sees COVID-19 case reports climb with second semester underway

Hundreds of positive case reports have been logged by the district since the start of 2021.

Work on Memorial Hermann The Woodlands Medical Center includes the construction of a new patient tower and parking area. (Courtesy Memorial Hermann The Woodlands Medical Center)
Memorial Hermann The Woodlands Medical Center on track to complete $250M expansion in 2022

Since July, the construction team has put in 100,000 work hours and poured more than 8,500 cubic yards of concrtete.

The new plant was completed ahead of schedule. (Courtesy Entergy Texas)
Entergy Texas power station in Montgomery County achieves commercial operation

The plant, located in Willis, was originally slated to come online in the middle of this year.

Commissioner James Metts speaks in support of creating two courts at law for Montgomery County. (Screenshot via Montgomery County livestream)
Montgomery County commissioners begin discussion to add 2 courts in 2021

Montgomery County commissioners wish to gather more information about court needs before approving at least one court at law.

De'ja Vu Beautiful Consignments held a grand opening at 13080 Hwy. 105, Conroe, on Jan. 9. (Courtesy De'ja Vu Beatiful Consignments)
New health care facilities open in the Conroe, Montgomery area and other recent business news

Two health care facilities opened in the Conroe, Montgomery area at the start of the new year, along with other business openings.

A prescribed burning on the W.G. Jones State Forest along FM 1488 is scheduled for Jan. 14-15, weather permitting. (Courtesy Texas A&M Forest Service)
Prescribed burning of W.G. Jones State Forest scheduled for Jan. 14-15

As a result of the burning operations, certain areas of the forest will be closed to the public during this time.

Despite a global pandemic, Houston home sales broke records in 2020 and saw 10% more sales overall compared to 2019. (Courtesy Houston Association of Realtors)
Report: Houston home sales surpassed 2019 volumes despite pandemic

2020 single-family home sales surpassed 2019’s volume by more than 10%.

La Cocina de Roberto launched its second eatery in The Woodlands area in January. (Courtesy La Cocina de Roberto)
La Cocina de Roberto restaurant opens in The Woodlands and more Houston-area news

Read the latest business and community news from the Greater Houston area.

From Jan. 19-29, Coalition for the Homeless and staff from The Way Home will conduct the 2021 Homeless Count & Survey, in which they will work to identify sheltered and unsheltered people experiencing homelessness across Harris, Fort Bend and Montgomery counties. (Adobe Stock)
Coalition for the Homeless, The Way Home to conduct annual Greater Houston-area homeless count Jan. 19-29

The results of the 2021 homeless count and survey are expected to be released to the public this spring.