There's nothing fancy about the Esquire Barber Shop on Montana Avenue in Santa Monica. Despite haircuts that go from $35-$40 on par with many Westside hair styling establishments this shop has a simple look. It hearkens to the old days of grooming when a man in need of a haircut went to the neighborhood barber shop for a trim and a shave. Owner Leonel Caceres likes the low-tech approach to personal care and spoke with Jolie Gorchov about his way of doing business.
I've been cutting hair for 36 years and I've owned Esquire Barber Shop for 25 years. First, I worked for a barber at another location, then I was hired here in Santa Monica. The man who ran it retired, and in 1975 I took over.
We get all kinds of people here. They're all men we don't really get any women from young kids to old guys. I get the same people coming here for years. I also get their families and children and now I'm getting the second and third generations.
We cut hair, shave, and just offer a more personal service like you don't get at a Supercuts or one of those hair stylists. The guys who come here prefer a place like this, because we're barbers, and they know we know what we're doing. They like it that I know their name when they come in.
We've had a lot of hair styling places come and go here, but I've been in business all this time because I don't have a big overhead and I don't do any advertising. It's just me cutting hair, and people like to come back.
I can cut hair all different ways: flat top, crew cut, medium haircut, long haircut. We offer a variety, which you don't get at Supercuts. When people go there, they give everyone the same haircut, and they give everyone a block, where they make a straight line along the back of the head. But at a place like this, at a barber shop, we know how to taper in the back, so we have people coming in and saying, "Can you get rid of this line at the back of my head?"
Basically, people come to us because the price is right and we do a good job. We do the same job as a hair stylist, but we offer more service, with a shave and a haircut for less money and usually more experience. We know what we're doing, and we treat our customers well. To tell you the truth, in 25 years, I haven't really had any problems. We don't get any crime, we're in a good location, our customers like the personal treatment, we do a good job, and people keep coming back.
For reprint and licensing requests for this article, CLICK HERE.