October 6, 2022

Brad Marolf

Business & Finance Wonders

Preferred Countrywide Town barbershop celebrating 50 a long time in organization

Dining establishments and significant shops have come and absent on Nationwide City’s Highland Avenue about the a long time. Art deco-design and style storefronts now activity far more neutral palettes.

But some things never change.

“We’re nevertheless that minor, yellow barbershop on the corner. It’s a community landmark,” stated Raland Camara, who runs Highland Barber Store on Highland Avenue close to East 18th Road.

The household-owned shop is the oldest operating haircut establishment in the South County metropolis and it is celebrating its 50th anniversary, he explained.

Camara’s late father Antonio opened the shop and typically had his 4 sons sweeping the floors or serving to with other each day functions. The father died in 2018, supplying way to his spouse and Camara to run the company. In 2021, the mother died.

“That barbershop aided put me and my other three brothers all by means of faculty,” claimed Camara, who is also a senior engineer at Northrop Grumman.

Even though the neighborhood has modified around time, the smaller institution surrounded by vehicle shops has saved a number of features intact considering that it opened in 1972.

Highland Barber Shop, as seen all through its 50th anniversary at Countrywide Metropolis on Saturday, July 16, 2022.

(Kristian Carreon/For The San Diego Union-Tribune)

Consumers can nonetheless find the 1960’s brown leather-based Theo A. Kochs barber chairs Antonio once made use of. There are framed black and white portraits of the Camara family and a colourful portray of the barbershop finished by 1 of the father’s prospects from the 1970s.

The selling prices for a typical haircut haven’t altered substantially and it is a huge component as to why Highland Barber Store has preserved a faithful and considerable clientele, said Camara. In 1972, costs have been $3. These days, they are $12.

“My father experienced a really uncomplicated organization product: he just desired to provide a very good haircut at a excellent cost. I don’t imagine that ever goes out of type. It’s actually that small business design which is type of carried us by way of today,” stated Camara.

Though not an quick feat, Highland Barber Store weathered pandemic-related lockdowns although a lot of other establishments closed for superior underneath ever-modifying rules. 1 of the major difficulties was staffing, claimed Camara, for the reason that as the marketplace shut down, workforce experienced to come across other positions to maintain on their own.

“We’ve been choosing all by COVID,” he mentioned. “As a make a difference of simple fact, we’re however using the services of. We have significantly extra shoppers than we have barbers.”

Amid the hires in 2020 was barber and stylist Socorro Gastelum.

Pictures of late owner Antonio Camara are displayed at Highland Barber Shop in National City on Saturday, July 16, 2022.

Photos of late proprietor Antonio Camara are displayed at Highland Barber Shop in Countrywide Metropolis on Saturday, July 16, 2022.

(Kristian Carreon/For The San Diego Union-Tribune)

“I’ve been right here two several years,” she mentioned. “When I begun functioning in this article in the course of COVID it was not simple to provide buyers all over again. But following two or three months (considering the fact that operating in this article) shoppers that have been coming for a lengthy time began coming back again and they explained to other people.”

Gastelum mentioned she before long understood that shoppers from as far north in Oceanside would make the generate for a haircut.

“I have a customer who’s been coming for 40 yrs and brings his son and grandson now,” she said. “You see a great deal of that. It’s a technology point and they are content we’re nevertheless below functioning in this put.”

Just in time to welcome clients again, Camara explained he took it upon himself to give the shop a facelift while continue to retaining its character.

“I essentially painted the shop inside and out and gave it a minimal enhance,” he reported. “The outside the house of our shop was yellow and we repainted it the very same shade. Would I have at first painted this yellow? In all probability not, but it’s just so substantially a component of people’s life as the minimal yellow barbershop.”

Highland Barber Store lately held a 50th anniversary get together where they provided shoppers $3 haircuts, raffle game titles and hair provides.

Erica Lora and Socorro Gastelum give haircuts to Jorge Molina and his son Roman,12, at Highland Barber Shop on July 16, 2022.

Nationwide City locals Jorge Molina and his son Roman Molina, 12, get haircuts from Erica Lora and Socorro Gastelum through the 50th anniversary of Highland Barber Store at Nationwide Metropolis on Saturday, July 16, 2022. The barber shop, positioned by the corner of Highland Avenue and East 19th Avenue, has been operating given that 1972.

(Kristian Carreon/For The San Diego Union-Tribune)