CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas — Jacob Espy opened So Blendy Barbershop with his cousin back in 2006. Over the last 15 years, Espy has been actively involved in the barber community in Corpus Christi and across the country.
Like many barbershops, in 2020 So Blendy closed for three and a half months because of the pandemic.
“Just not knowing what the future held was the biggest problem,” Espy said.
But Espy and So Blendy were not alone.
“A lot of people were worried about what was their next move, what was going to happen next, when the shops were going to open back up. Just having that sense of not knowing, was more stressful on barbers,” he said.
As regulations were lifted in Texas, So Blendy could open back up, but it was not able to operate at full capacity.
“Even when we were able to open back up, with all the regulations, we could only have a few people in the shop at a time, we were doing appointments only, we couldn’t take walk-ins,” Espy said.
Overall, 2020 was tough for a lot in the barbershop industry.
“It was a very scary time, just not knowing, and I know a lot of barbers were starting to go elsewhere, they were looking for jobs, they were trying to think of other means to make money,” Espy said.
As a means to make more money himself, Espy started making and selling empanadas, as a tribute to his grandmother.
“It was something that I did for extra means of money. I had taken a hit, when you’re talking about getting paid half of what you were getting paid before, a lot of people looked at other ways to make money,” he said.
But the empanadas were a hit. Espy started selling them at home, but was unable to do that without a license, so he teamed up with The Lunch Guy restaurant, where he started selling his empanadas, and now he has his own business that he runs out of The Lunch Guy, called Espy’s Empanadas.
“I opened up, it was a success, and right now it’s still going, and it’s going pretty good,” he said.
Espy’s Empanadas and So Blendy are both bouncing back well from the effects of the pandemic. Another project of Espy’s that was affected by the pandemic is his annual Barber Games South Padre event, which brings barbers from all over to compete to be the best barber in their category.
The event was canceled in 2020 due to the pandemic, but Espy is planning on hosting it in October on South Padre Island, in a hopeful return to some normalcy.
“I really can’t wait to see all of my barber friends, all my barber peers, and everyone that’s in the barber community come out once again,” he said. “It’s just a good way to bring all the barbers back, just to unite once again, and feel a sense of normalness. Everything hasn’t been normal lately, and this is just a good time for us to get back together.”
So Blendy is located at 4701 Ayers St. Suite 203 in Corpus Christi, and is open every day except Sunday.