My Barbershop

IPhone Photos 005

Henry Villalpando

After 45 years in business at the same location on 25th St. and Western Ave. in San Pedro,  Henry at Harbor Village Barbers wondered where all his business had gone.  Down to one chair with a second barber coming in a couple of days a week, the shop’s business was in a downward spiral.

This is a traditional manly man’s barbershop.  There are no stylists to be found here.  It’s all about basic haircuts and maybe a beard or moustache trim on the side.

Straight from the 1960′s.

Some of us who can actually remember the ’60s kinda like the place.  It’s simple and inexpensive.  No $40 style jobs here. Henry and his former partner Burt (now retired), have been cutting my hair for 35 years. My two boys used to call the pair “Burt & Ernie.”  They had their first haircuts there.

barber-poleWith Henry still clipping away, Naz enterers the scene a couple of months ago and signed on as the #2 chair.  With his long pony tail (down to the middle of his back) and youthful exuberance, the place hasn’t been the same since.

While Henry stands back a bit, nodding approval from time-to-time, Naz has slowly rejuvenated the small shop with throwback décor from the bygone barbershop era. Old photos and other nostalgia decorate the walls and even a new electric rotating barber pole will soon be installed.

With a new sign on the storefront, folding signs and balloons at the parking lot entrances, and a limited time only $10 haircut promotion, Naz’s marketing strategies have started to regenerate some of the shop’s lost business.

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Henry & Naz

Their efforts paid off in a big way when San Pedro’s own Petros Papadakis, the famed local sports announcer and American television personality stopped by for a haircut a couple of weeks ago.

Papadakis is a radio co-host of the Petros and Money Show on Fox Sports Radio. He is a former tailback and American football team captain for the University of Southern California Trojans.

Having never been to the Harbor Village Barbershop before, Petros decided to give Henry and Naz a big “Shout Out” on his radio show after his visit. It went on for almost 5 minutes and went something like this:

 

Fox Sports Radio June 23, 2013 –

Petros:    As you can see, Matt, I have a sweet, but not quite Pitbull style hair cut that I got today. I was a real man about town this morning in San Pedro, California. Went to get gas, I hit up the ATM; jaywalked it. Talked to a couple of cops at the Starbucks, for coffee.

Matt:               Yeah.

Petros:            Got a haircut. And I went to, what I thought was, a new barbershop, the Harbor Village Barber Shop in Harbor Village.

Matt:   Okay.

Petros:            On 25th and Western. Matt, I strolled in there this morning and I learned that Harbor Village is not new. That barbershop has been there for 42 years.

Matt:               What?

Petros:            No, 45.

Matt:               Only 45 years.

Petros:            45 years, man.

Matt:               For goodness sake, man.

Petros:            Which is crazy. All right, Matt, the proprietor, Henry, and a guy named Naz, not the rapper, no not…

Matt:               … Belly?

Petros:            Not from Belly yesterday, just a different guy named Naz.

Speaker 3:       You got to read his book, man.

Petros:            Cut my hair. They have a nice, western motif in there with paintings of cowboys, okay? And of Indians, pretty nice. I just want to say, I had a great, American barbershop experience. There were some old San Pedro dudes getting their hair cut, one of which, was bald. And you know how that looked? Don’t trust a barber, some of you people go to stylists now, and I can’t fault you, but don’t ever trust a barber if there’s not a bald guy getting his hair cut when you walk in. If there’s not a bald guy getting the part of his head that’s not bald, cut,

Matt:               Oh, okay. I got you.

Petros:            … then there is no good reason for you to be at that place.

We talked local high school football. Talked San Pedro High, Loyala, St. John  Bosco, the rise of Narbonne, home of the Gauchos, coached by Manny Douglas, former guest here on TMS. Matt, there’s something about being in a barbershop with painting of cowboys and Indians and one of the dudes getting groomed is bald. The other guy is getting a flattop, talking high school football locally. I felt like John Cougar Mellencamp in there, ain’t that America, ain’t it? And I was having a good time. Now, I want to be clear, very clear, that the Harbor Village Barbershop is the barbershop on 25th and Western that’s next to the famous Sorrento’s Pizza. Not the one catty-corner on that corner next to the Fantastic Café.

Matt:               That’s the other barbershop.

Petros:            That’s the other one on 25th and Western and they’re not the same. And I would never go over to that other one.

Matt:               You wouldn’t?

Petros:            I, I never have.

Matt:               Okay.

Petros:            No good reason.

Matt:               Can I ask, I think, a pretty honest question?

Petros:            Yeah, why?

Matt:               How’d you miss this place for 45 years?

Petros:            Great question. Because they do fades, tapers, any style for men, teens and children.

Matt:               Okay.

Petros:            What a fine American experience. How was it there for 42 years that I missed it?

Matt:               Yep.

Petros:            It was explained to me, very briefly. We used to have a tinted green window, no one could see through. And they changed it to a clear window, next thing you know, bam. I’m getting my hair cut in there.

Matt:               Tinted green window, 42 years.

Petros:            Yeah.

Matt:               Okay.

 

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