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Barbershops: A Step into the Community

Sitting in the barber's chair | After stepping into a barber shop on Jefferson, such as Rick's Barber Shop, one can see the barber's chair serves as more than just a place to sit while getting a hair cut. An infinite number of stories and laughs have been shared by so many different people sitting in that seat, and whether people go in with dress shoes or flip flops, they all have a common bond in that shop. It's a common bond formed through community.
C.C.'s Barber Shop | Long-time residents of Jefferson Blvd. come together at Caiela Creico's barber shop to catch up and spend time with each other, and some of Creico's first customers from over 35 years ago are now bringing their grandchildren in for their first haircuts.

Off Da Top Barber Shop | With Barbers from Belize and Guyana, Off Da Top Barber Shop has a unique environment, always keeping their customers laughing, and many of their clients say they always feel comfortable when they walk into the shop and often go in just to say hi.
A Home with a History A Home with a History
The Jefferson Branch Library is the only structure along Jefferson Boulevard featured on the National Register of Historic Places. The building, with its rich history, was frequented by distinguished members of the African-American community while they were growing up. Today, the library remains a second home to the children in the Jefferson Park area.
Murals Bring Life and Color to Jefferson Murals Bring Life and Color to Jefferson
The murals along Jefferson Blvd. not only beautify the community, but they also bring community members together through the messages and feelings they set out to portray. In placing their unique images on the wall, the artists behind the murals, many of whom grew up or have spent a lot of time in the community, turned old buildings into bright, meaningful spectacles.
TEXT_GOES_HERE Behind the small businesses of Jefferson
Jefferson boulevard is lined with small businesses ranging from auto repair shops to clothing stores. The owners of the businesses have had their fair share of stories about holding on in the economy slump, but have looked to the community of Jefferson for support.

By Christian Martinez

A haircut is often considered an ordinary experience, but on Jefferson Blvd., a haircut is a chance to catch up with old friends and relax as the culture of the community comes alive and colorful people come together in one of the many colorful buildings lining the street.

"It's a community center, not a barber shop," chuckled 70-year-old Caile Crieco, the owner of C.C.'s Beauty and Barber Shop.

There are five barber shops along the strip of Jefferson between Vermont and La Cienega, and each shop has its own atmosphere, clientele, and business philosophy.

"I like to keep things clean and comfortable for my customers with good clean language and no profanity," said the owner of Jefferson's newest barber shop, Off Da Top Barber Shop, Sir Charles.

Sir Charles said he has a lot of young guys that go into his shop because they like the reggae music, but he makes sure to keep the environment family friendly and professional.

Sir Charles' barber shop opened just three years ago, but it already has a similar feel to Jefferson's longest-standing barber shop, Rick's Barber Shop, with customers seeming more like family than clients. Rick's Barber Shop has been on Jefferson for 35 years, and it still has certain traditional rules that newer barber shops like Off Da Top Barber shop has forsaken.

“It takes too much to cut women’s hair. When a woman comes in I just point her on next door to the salon,” Rick Johnson, the owner of Rick's Barber Shop said.

Johnson said when he was younger, women would not even step foot in the shop, and although women occasionally stop in to say hi, when it comes to cutting their hair, Johnson sticks to the tradition of only cutting men's hair. Rick's Barber Shop is the only Jefferson shop that follows the old tradition.

At Chico's Barber Shop just down the street, the owner hired two women to do women's hair. Although the shop does not have the same familial environment as Sir Charles' barber shop and Rick's Barber Shop, some customers have been going there for up to five years.

"The owner of the shop has changed a couple of times, but the prices are still good," said Mariana Lopez, a customer at Chico's Barber Shop.

At C.C.'s, a small pink building that sits on the corner of Jefferson Blvd. and Gramercy Place, Creico offers free haircuts to the homeless every morning from 8'o'clock to 10 o'clock a.m.

"You can't even tell some of the homeless people around her are homeless becaue they're well-groomed since I do their hair for them. They're clean shaven and everything," Creico said.

Creico opened her business 10 years ago, but she began building her clientele 49 years ago, working at her uncle's barber shop on Jefferson Blvd. and West Ave., and she said she makes sure to give back to the community because they have supported her for so many years.

James Maxie, one of the barbers at Off Da Top Barber Shop, also said he makes sure to serve the community well because it's where he grew up.

"It means everything to me I watched the whole community change and transform into what it is now," Maxie said.

Johnson has owned Rick's Barber Shop for 10 years, but he began building his list of clients several years before he took over ownership of the shop. He has had many of his clients for over 20 years, but he made it clear these clients know that when they come in, they are coming in for a haircut.

“I cut their hair, and they pay. If people just come to hang out, they stay too long and end up asking me for money,” Rick said.

He may sound tough, but just last week he had three people sitting in his shop for nearly an hour, and none of them asked for a haircut.

Rick has worked in his shop by himself for the last 10 years. He said he enjoys working by himself because he can go at his own pace, and it has proven to be an efficient way to do business. However, other barber shop owners said in order to keep their businesses running, they need the extra hands in their shop.

"I worked really hard to get some other barbers in here because business was really shaky at first," Sir Charles, the owner of Off da Top Barber Shop, said.

Like, C.C.’s shop, Off da Top Barber Shop is a unisex shop. Charles said he wants wives to feel comfortable in his shop unlike many other barber shops.

“At the last shop I worked at, women weren’t allowed, so all of the men would leave their wives in the care. I’m finally meeting their wives after five years of cutting their hair,” Charles said.

New or old, providing service to men or both men and women, the barber shops on Jefferson are establishments that bring people together and help shape the culture of the community.

Barber shop locations on Jefferson|Click on a barber-pole icon to view business listing.

Seven years in C.C.'s chair | Seven-year-old Darnell Hill Jr. got his first haircut at C.C.'s when he was a baby, and he and his grandfather continue to go once every two weeks together to get their cuts.

Customer and friend | Jerry Hall has been going to Rick's Barber Shop for about four years, but they talk like they've known each other for years. Johnson said he knows to turn to History Channel on the television for Hall every time he goes in.

Miracles in the barber shop | Orvabelle White was completely bald when she started to go into C.C.'s shop three years ago, and with a special oil treatment, C.C. has helped White's hair begin to grow back.