When and wear to get a haircut in Pleasanton, CA.
Can you get a haircut in this current COVID-19 environment? I’ve got that answer and more, and it’s all coming up.
Hi, I’m Warren Oberholser. I’m a realtor in the East Bay Tri-Valley area in Northern California. My goal is to help both buyers and sellers get maximum results for one of their biggest investments, their home.
Normally my articles are all about real estate. However, in this BLOG, I’m going to change it up a bit. I’m going to feature the third oldest company that’s still in business in Pleasanton California, which is Norm’s Barber Shop. To answer my opening question, can you get a haircut in this current COVID-19 environment? And more specifically, can you get a haircut in Alameda County? The answer is yes, providing the barber follows specific guidelines. To give us all the details on this and to discuss the secrets of running a successful business for over the last 50 years, I’m going to talk to Norm Reed, the owner of Norm’s Barber Shop. Before I begin my interview, I want you to know that Norm’s Barbershop follows all the rules and guidelines set by the county and their Barber Regulatory Agency Board.
Okay, let’s hear Norm’s story. Norm first started cutting hair in Hayward and in 1967 opened up a barber shop in the old Safeway Shopping Center on Santa Rita Road. In 1972, he moved his business to Main Street and it’s still there. For Norm, cutting hair for the last 50 years has made it possible to take care of four generations of families.
Norm Reed: I’ve got a couple of pictures of at least four generations who’ve had haircuts. People coming in, their kids coming in and their grandkids coming in, and their great-grandkids coming in.
Warren Oberholser: Norm’s associate barber is Rob Alcorn. He’s been in the business over 20 years. Quality service is paramount to them. Norm and Rob take pride in making sure all their customers leave their barber shop with great haircuts.
Rob Alcorn: That’s one thing that I could say about this man, is that he cares about every single haircut that goes out that door, whether it’s from my chair, his chair, whatever. This is Norm’s Barber Shop and those haircuts that walk out, a lot of people don’t look at it this way, but the way I look at it is, is that’s a billboard. People go, “Hey, where’d you get your haircut?”
Norm Reed: Right.
Warren Oberholser: This attention to quality and customer satisfaction has allowed Norm to build a successful business by just word of mouth.
Norm Reed: Most of my business is all word of mouth or people telling other people or… I don’t know. It’s just been that way for ever since I started. It’s just people telling other people. That’s the best kind of advertisement you can get, is somebody telling somebody else.
Warren Oberholser: They say one of the most gratifying things about being a barber is the relationships they’ve built over the years.
Rob Alcorn: The good part of the business is giving that first haircut to the little kid. His first little haircut, he’s squirming around and it’s kind of a challenge, but that’s a great memory. And then you get to watch these people grow up. And as they grow up, they become part of the family. Even though you only see them every once in a while, you still feel like you’re connected to these people and I think that’s amazing. I haven’t made it to three or four generations like Norm, and I can’t imagine what that would feel like, but hopefully one day I can.
Warren Oberholser: I asked Norm to reflect on his beginnings when he attended barber school and what techniques and tools he values using over the years.
Norm Reed: When I went to barber school, you couldn’t use clippers. That was way back when. You had to cut hair with scissors. You had to do tapers. You had to do everything with scissors and comb. And I went for my first test to get out of school and there was guys using clippers all over the place, but we didn’t. The only time they let me do Clippers is right at the end. They showed you how to make a little finer line. But it was kind of interesting because I could do a lot of things with scissors. I still use a lot of scissors and I cut hair with scissors and comb. I use clippers, but it’s a combination of what you get done and what kind of haircuts you want. And regular haircuts are a little different than fades, and it’s a different technique. But that’s what you do in a barber business, you do a combination of a lot of things.
Warren Oberholser: Norm’s attended numerous haircutting classes and clinics.
Norm Reed: Used to go to new style shows and all that stuff for men and kind of like, I tell my grandsons, I go to different schools and it’s the same thing. I says, “You go and learn what you can learn and throw out what you can’t use.”
Rob Alcorn: Right.
Norm Reed: So there’s just some things that you just go, “Whoa, whoa.”
Rob Alcorn: Yeah.
Norm Reed: I’m not doing that. But some things that, “Oh, that looks pretty good.” So you kind of intertwine with what you do. And so, but it’s still basic scissors and clipper work, how it’s how you do it and which way you did it and how you finish it.
Warren Oberholser: Norm discusses hairstyles and doing business over the years.
Norm Reed: Styles are just like coats. You got a suit that looks a lot like the other suit but it’s not the same suit you had 10, 15 years ago. The haircuts are a little different. They’ve done a little different. It kind of changes, but everything goes back. The styles change a little bit, but business is the same. As long as you take care of your customers, they take care of you. And it’s kind of a bond, a family type operation.
Warren Oberholser: Norm’s associate barber, Rob Alcorn says, “Norm is not only an excellent barber, but also a great teacher.”
Rob Alcorn: I was a young barber when I came here. I’d been at it for, I don’t know, maybe 10 years before I came to the shop and I felt like I was a master barber, like I could do anything. And then within, working with this guy for just a few weeks, he would come over and be like, “Why don’t you try this? Or why don’t you try that?” And my barber game went up 10 fold. There’s so many things I’ve learned from him, not only with scissors, but something else to mention is cutting hair, or thinning the hair out with a razor, with a straight razor. So, I mean, one of the biggest things I learned from him was to comb the hair forward and take some of the weight off the back end, so when you push it back, there’s not as much hair holding it forward, really helps with cowlicks.
Rob Alcorn: But as far as, scissors being a lost skill, I could tell that just by some of the older clients that come in, they go, “Wow, somebody hasn’t used scissors in my head in years.” And that’s something that I think is really special with this shop, is that yeah, we do have all the clippers and all that stuff, but we also still stick to a lot of the old school, basic barbering techniques. I mean, and as far as straight razors goes also with still doing face shaves, straight razor face shaves with a hot shave. I mean, you can’t find that too many places or even using the straight razor around the edge of the haircut as well. That’s something that a lot of people just either they don’t feel comfortable with, or they just cut it out all together.
Warren Oberholser: Rob explains the health and sanitary requirements a barbershop must follow in order to be compliant with the county. He also discusses what changes and additions have been made since they’ve returned back to work in our present COVID-19 environment.
Rob Alcorn: So before COVID, it was you basically have to spray your clippers and brush them out in between each person. We’ve got this barbicide solution over here that actually sterilizes our straight razor. Sometimes we put combs in there or whatever. Then I have this area where I put my used combs and brushes and things like that in there. And I use a different comb and a different brush on each person. Along with just basically keeping your area clean, washing your hands. These are all things that we’ve already been doing.
Rob Alcorn: Now with COVID, they gave us so many new restrictions but it’s good because not only for the safety of me, but also for the safety of the client as well. So now what we have to do is we start off, we have to sterilize everything, anything that I touch has to be wiped down with the solution. Okay and it’s got to dry for 10 minutes. So because of that fact, I can only do half as many haircuts in a day that I used to. Okay. You got to wipe down the chair. We can’t sweep the hair anymore because it puts it in the air. We have to use a Shop vac and suck it up. Okay. All these things take time.
Rob Alcorn: Once I get the whole area sanitized and sprayed the clippers, and did everything that I’m supposed to do, then I could allow the client to come up to the door. So when they come to the door, there’s a little rolling station and it’s got hand pump sanitizer that they… I have to take their temperature with the touch-less thermometer. People are only allowed to come in one at a time when we call them in. And they have a mask on and then they come into my sanitize area where everything’s sterilized.
And I direct them to the chair. Once they sit in the chair, then I come over here and we have these one time use plastic capes. Oh, and then new gloves, that’s another thing. And then you repeat the process. You sanitize everything in the station. You take them out. You can’t let the next person in until all this is wiped down and been touched and made sure that it’s all sanitized again. We have to have our face mask. This face mask happens to have a filter on the inside. And then we also have to have these face shields as well. So when we’re cutting hair, we have to have these on also. So it’s pretty much like prepping for surgery. So because of all the things that we have to do, these things take time. So instead of doing one after the other like we’re used to in a good rhythm, now I have to stop, sanitize everything. I’ve only been able to do half as many haircuts in a day then I’ve used to.
Warren Oberholser: A true testament of Norm’s great hair cutting skills is the loyalty his clients have shown him over the years. Even his clients that move out of the area will still return to get their haircut by Norm.
Norm Reed: They moved to, down by Fresno and they still come here.
Warren Oberholser: So they followed you over.
Norm Reed: They said everything and but…
Rob Alcorn: Yeah, he’s got one client that comes all the way from Mandara. That’s like four hours away just for a haircut.
About Warren Oberholser
Hello…I work with both buyers and sellers in the Tri-Valley area of Northern California. The Tri-Valley is comprised of 6 cities: Pleasanton, Livermore, Dublin, San Ramon, Danville, and Alamo. To better understand what each city has to offer, I have created a Pros and Cons video and BLOG for each – (Pros & Cons for Pleasanton, Pros & Cons for Livermore, Pros & Cons for Dublin, Pros & Cons for San Ramon, Pros & Cons for Danville and Pros & Cons for Alamo). If you are thinking about purchasing or selling a home, please reach out to me by text, phone, or email. If it is convenient, I can schedule a Zoom chat so we can discuss your home goals. Wishing you all the best on your home journey. Cheers!
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