Barber Joe's - Vacaville, CA
Posted by: Groundspeak Premium Member thebeav69
N 38° 21.393 W 121° 59.257
10S E 588453 N 4245861
Quick Description: This barber shop has been in business here since 1940.
Location: California, United States
Date Posted: 3/3/2015 2:42:24 PM
Waymark Code: WMNF4G
Published By: Groundspeak Premium Member Jake39
Views: 0

Long Description:
Located in the heart of downtown Main Street is Barber Joe's, a father/son business since 1940. I discovered an online article from The Reporter which highlights the history of this shop and reads:

Barber Joe's shop in Vacaville continues success story

For decades the red, white and blue barber pole and the two men working just inside the barber shop on the corner of Main and Elizabeth streets in Vacaville have seen the city grow and change.

But while Barber Joe's Barber Shop has changed to keep up with the clientele, walking through the double doors is like walking into the past.

Wrap Text around ImageAt the front 88-year-old Joe Lopez Sr. is quietly cutting hair, just like he's done since he was 16, minus the years he spent serving in World War II and a couple of other jobs in Vacaville, selling shoes or cars.

"Joe Jr. was about to be born and I was broke," he recalled of the reasons he returned to the family business.

"I've gotten to like it," Lopez joked. "It's the interaction with the clients that have led to being friends."

Lopez and his wife Joan Lopez, who is now deceased, had three children, two daughters and one son who have all, along with their cousins, at one time or another, worked in the shop.

"It sure was fun," he said of working with family. "It was a blast. All the jokes. All the arguments. The put downs. It was fun."

As Lopez looked out onto Main Street from his shop, across from Town Square, he thought for a minute before he said, "I've been happy here. We don't have a lot of parking, but we have a beautiful view."

"It's worked out," he continued. "Barber's don't make a lot of money, but I've lived a good life."

His son agreed.

"It's always been a great location," Joe Jr. said. "It's saved us in tough times being in the middle of Main Street."

In his hay day, Lopez averaged about 23 haircuts a day, but now he does about 15 haircuts for only the customers that specifically ask for him.

Now customers come in looking for color, perms and textures, skills that he lets the hair stylists master in the shop.

"I used to cut women's hair, but you have to picture what you want to do before you do it," he said. "I can do it technically, not artistically. I ran an old-fashioned shop."

He also admitted that he doesn't do shaves anymore, as he held out a shaky hand.

"My hands aren't as steady," he said laughing.

Still, the core group of clients that Lopez sees regularly are what keeps him going.

"I try to take care of them because they've been so loyal," he said. "I want to be loyal to them."

Wrap Text around ImageJoe Jr. said he became a part of the business after working on Mare Island in civil service making less money than his sisters working at the barber shop.

"They offered to send me to barber school and I said, 'yes,'" he explained. "I do enjoy it. I enjoy my customers. I enjoy cutting hair."

"You get to see a finished product every 20 minutes," he said, something that wasn't happening at his other job.

There are other perks.

"It's a social thing," Joe Jr. said. "I get to socialize all day long."

Joe Jr. also explained that father and son are in such great health compared to other barbers and hair stylists because they work on true wooden floors, not on a concrete slab, and he uses a stool to sit and get eye level while cutting hair.

"I've sat through a lot of haircuts," he said. "It's something my dad taught me. We're not hunching all day. We're lucky to have no back problems."

Will the barber shop carry on through the family? Unfortunately, the answer is, no.

"When I'm done, we're done," Joe Jr. said. "I think Vacaville will carry on just fine."

The story, however, Joe Jr. insists, is centered around his father who was born in Vacaville and his grandfather, also named Joe Lopez, who immigrated from Spain.

"I'm at the tale end of what they started," Joe Jr. explained.

The barber shop was first opened in the winter of 1939, was half the size of what the shop is now and was called Joe's Barber Shop. At age 16, while attending Vacaville High School, Lopez attended barber school to help with the family business. Years later when Lopez took over the family business, he changed the name to Barber Joe's. Joe Jr. is now in charge and it's running very well, according to the proud father.

"I ran my shop different than my dad did, and he runs it different than I did," Lopez said.

Joe Jr. said he fit right in with the success of the family business.

"What they started made it very easy for me to build a clientele," he said. "We're doing just fine and I love the crew I have today."

Melissa Murphy ~ The Reporter

Location of this 'Barber Pole": Outside of Barber Shop

Days & Hours of operation:
Mon Closed Tue 9:00 am - 6:00 pm Wed 9:00 am - 6:00 pm Thu 9:00 am - 6:00 pm Fri 9:00 am - 6:00 pm Sat 9:00 am - 5:00 pm Sun Closed

Type of Barber Pole: Glass pole rotating

Other -: Not listed

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