Venerable Woodstock barber shop stays in the family
Mae's Family Barber Shop at 4617 S.E. Woodstock Boulevard has been a fixture in the neighborhood for 25 years. This year, in January, Muong Lor – popularly known as Mae – and her husband Ton retired, and turned the family business over to Mae's daughter-in-law, Theavy Tep.
Theavy, who is now 38 years old, graduated from high school in Cambodia in 2003 and moved to the capitol, Pnom Penh, to learn hair cutting and cosmetology. While there, she also studied English, and took tailoring classes to become a seamstress.
"Everyone has always called me a hard worker," remarks Theavy. "When I moved to Portland, I went to Portland Beauty School, and also to Portland Community College at Division and S.E. 82nd for ESL [English as a Second Language] classes."
Following that, she worked for six years at two jobs simultaneously – cutting hair, and operating an oven in a bakery – both in Eastport Plaza. Her reputation as a hard worker has long been well-established.
After she met Mae and Ton's older son Jack in Cambodia, in 2006, Theavy and Jack were married, and moved to Portland in 2008 after receiving visas. In 2010 they became parents of a daughter, who now is a fifth grader in the David Douglas District in East Portland.
Jack, raised in Portland by Mae and Ton, is a woodworker employed by a large cabinet company in Portland. He also sometimes does jobs on the side, such as crafting kitchen cabinets, desks, dressers, and other wood products.
As for Theavy, she is thankful that her own parents were able to move from Chicago fifteen years ago to enjoy the milder weather in Portland and to provide "grandparent help" for their daughter (whose middle name is "Mae").
Mae came to Portland from Laos in 1980, and started her barber shop on Woodstock Boulevard in 1996. Now she tells THE BEE, "I like being able to pass the business on to family, and not just sell it. I love the shop and the location, and I had a very good business. Theavy loves what she is doing, and I would like her to have the same support of the community as I had."Satisfied clients include John Essick, a Reed College physics professor who has gone to Mae's for many years for his haircuts. He says, "I have liked going to Mae's because all three – Mae, Ton, and now Theavy – are affordable, competent haircutters, and I like supporting them as hard workers and as local Woodstock business people."
Theavy cuts hair for men, women, and children of all ages. Regular haircuts are $16, child and senior cuts cost $13, buzz cuts for kids 10 years and under and for those age 65 and older are $13. Bang, neck, or beard trim is $5, and a shampoo is $5.
To contact "Mae's Family Barber 'Style' Shop", as Theavy now calls it, call 503/788-0681. Hours are generally from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. No appointment necessary, but call to verify the hours on the day you want to go.
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