By Blythe Moorcroft, Quilt staff
Despite LA County officials announcing the allowment of the reopenization of some retail shops as soon as Friday, barbers across Canoga Park are frustrated by the lack of an official date to act like they’re suddenly reopening.
“We’d love to pull that paper off our windows and be able to stop whispering in case anyone’s walking by,” says DeShawn Gillard of Trimz, Clipz ‘n’ Cutz Barberz on Sherman Way. “And by that I mean, of course we’ve been closed. I myself have been, uh, at home, taking a Master Class on acting taught by, oh, Dame Helen Mirren to pass the time, let’s say. I most certainly have not been here every day unlocking the door for customers who knock three times, then two times, then three times again, 10 am to 6 pm.
“Again, that’s three times, then two, then three.”
|Sign in a window of one of the thousands of barber shops located throughout Canoga Park that have|
been closed since March due to COVID-19 and patiently await the go-ahead to reopen. Staff photo.
Bernice Solverson of Canoga Park’s Chamber of Commerce, says that with nine out of every ten businesses in Canoga Park operating as a barber shop, and entire blocks of Sherman Way storefronts being comprised of nothing but barber shops, “the barber shop industry is as important economically to 21st century Canoga Park as the aerospace industry was to 1960s Canoga Park.”
She estimates that of the nearly 43,000 people living in Canoga Park, over 38,000 of them own local barbershops or make their living as barbers, or in a barber-adjacent field, such as hair-sweeping, organizing racks of old magazines, or more recently, taping large pieces of brown kraft paper to store windows. “We need to let these people pretend to get back to work!” says Solverson.
Ernesto Almazan of Homiez ‘n’ Thugz Haircutterz agrees, “Man, this last month and a half has been a pain in the ass— getting the word out, answering the phone in code, deciding if they’re cool, and making sure they come in through the back! Sheesh!
“...Eh, that is to say, we’ve all been closed, sitting at home bingeing, oh, ‘Tiger King’ or some shit.”