CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas — Many people remember that last year, long haircuts were in style because barber shops were forced to shut down due to the pandemic.
The Barber Lounge shut down in March, and one of its barbers, Thomas Hernandez, said it was like losing his man cave, a place where he could spend time with his fellow barbers.
“It’s like my second home so…I love being here…I love being with these guys. It’s just, it’s fun. It’s not a like a drag to have to come to work,” Hernandez said.
Hernandez has been cutting hair for seven years and was inspired to cut hair because his brother used to cut his. He said now his job has become his passion, but it’s a passion that got cut short when the pandemic forced shops to close down. Hernandez says it was not a good time having to pay bills without income from work.
However, he took the time he had off from work to spend time with his family, another one of his passions.
“I have a good support like from my family and all that so I actually enjoyed the break. I got to spend a lot of time with my kids and we had a lot of fun so I made the best of it,” Hernandez said.
The Barber Lounge has been open for about four years. Lucas Lopez is one of the barbers who was there when it first opened and had never experienced having to leave work for an extended period of time, especially because of a pandemic.
“It was more nerve-wracking than anything just because we come in such close contact with so many people and at the beginning of the pandemic we were very unaware of how everything still was and how bad it actually was,” Lopez said.
The shop said revenue went down during the pandemic and opening back up in late May was slow. They said getting supplies like gloves, thermometers and sanitizing wipes was hard to track down.
Many of their regulars came back for haircuts and they are also getting new clients, saying their business is growing. They even hired a new employee, Robert Gee, who started last October. He said he was living in San Antonio but had to relocated to Corpus Christi because his wife is in the military. He said he’s glad to have found a job at the Barber Lounge during the pandemic.
“I love that old school barber shop feel where we can kind of just come in, hang out, talk trash to one another, and you know, have a good time,” Gee said.
Edwin Rodriguez is a regular client who was used to getting hair cuts every week because he’s a veteran. He said he was able to cut his own hair during the shut down, but it didn’t go well. Now he’s happy he can go back to to the Barber Lounge and get his hair cut.
“I love to feel professional, look clean, and it made me feel very happy that I could just go out there and get my own haircut and go to work and still look professional,” Rodriguez said.
The Barber Lounge is open Tuesday-Saturday and is located on Cimarron Boulevard in Corpus Christi.