Cork hairdresser hangs up her scissors after 42 years in business

After four decades catering to the public’s tresses, Mallow hairdresser Margaret Hickey, of Godiva, has shut up shop, writes Tara Maher
Cork hairdresser hangs up her scissors after 42 years in business

Godiva Hair Stylists in Mallow which closed on Friday.

FOLLOWING 42 years in business, Margaret Hickey of Godiva’s salon in Mallow closed her doors for the last time last Friday.

Originally from Mallow, now living in Kilworth, Margaret left school after her Inter Cert, now known as the Junior Cert, to pursue a career as a hairdresser.

After finishing her training, she rented two different premises in Mallow town before buying her own premise on 31, Bridge Street when she was only 24. Named after Lady Godiva, Godiva’s has been at the heart of the community in Mallow for over four decades.

Godivas Crew on New Years 1986.
Godivas Crew on New Years 1986.

Margaret’s sister Geraldine has described the salon as “an institution” and “a staple” in the town.

Margaret has always been a very determined and optimistic character, and has not let anything stand in her and her business’ way. Shortly after opening her salon, Mallow town was hit by huge flooding, leaving severe damage to the shop floor. This did not deter Margaret from creating a successful business, and to ensure it would never happen again, she raised the floors six inches and moved the electrics up three feet. No flood would dare dampen her business again.

In the 80’s and 90’s, business was booming, Margaret had employed five full time staff and opened ‘The Barber Shop’, located in between Godiva’s and the Clock House, which was connected inside to Godivas.

And for 20 years, there was barely a man in Mallow who didn’t come in for a haircut from the Godiva’s girls. After its closure in 2005, many of The Barber Shop’s regulars continued to pop into Godiva’s for a quick haircut.

Godiva’s has always been a family oriented business. When Margaret’s sister, Geraldine, was 13 years old, she started working in Godiva’s after school and had to stand on a ‘Babycham’ crate to be tall enough to wash clients’ hair. A year later, Geraldine left school to work in the salon full time and did so until she got married.

In recent years, Margaret’s mother Maureen also helped out in the salon, washing hair, sweeping the floor and most importantly, making sure everyone had a cup of tea.

Margaret’s son, Will, also looks back fondly on his time growing up in the salon. As a child, he spent every Saturday at Godiva’s until he was old enough to look after himself, and admitted he too will miss the craic and the banter on the salon floor.

Godiva’s has always been a hive for activity. With people constantly passing in and out, there was always a great atmosphere on the shop floor.

Known for making every day an occasion, Margret and her staff loved to dress up in fancy dress, making every visit to the salon a memorable one.

Margaret Hickey, of Godivas in Mallow, which closed on Friday last, after 42 years in business.
Margaret Hickey, of Godivas in Mallow, which closed on Friday last, after 42 years in business.

Margaret has always put her customers first, from getting them all dolled up in the salon to making home visits to older clients, and she has always ensured that they always look their best.

Some of her clients have been with Margret since she first opened the salon doors and she has watched many of her clients go on to get married, have children and even grandchildren.

Not only is she a great hairdresser, but Margaret can also be described as a great teacher. Throughout the last four decades, she has passed on all knowledge and wisdom to her staff, with many of them going on to open their own salons, and has always been on hand to offer any advice.

Like every other business in Mallow and around the country, Godiva’s was affected by the Covid-19 pandemic and forced to close. Similarly to the flooding in 1980, Margaret didn’t let it hold her back.

Following the easing of restrictions, she opened the salon from Thursday to Saturday to look after her clients, but also allowed her time to take care of her own health.

Saying goodbye to the salon and her clients turned friends was a difficult decision for Margaret to make, but she is looking forward to taking time to focus on herself and she has big plans for 2023.

As a foodie, Margaret loves to cook and bake in her spare time and is hoping to open her own market stall selling homemade bread and treats.

She is also looking forward to spending more time on her hobbies, including going line-dancing and to pilates classes.

To celebrate her amazing career and successful business, Margaret’s sons and family organised a surprise party in the salon.

Margaret, and Godiva’s will be sorely missed, but never forgotten by its staff and countless customers that passed through the doors, and they thank her for over 40 years of service.

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