Ripon barbers Troy and Gary Medeiros ready to “rock the boat” in the closure that has shuttered their barbershop located on Locust Avenue at First Street.
Both men feel they are part of a family with their customers made up of many first responders including police, fire, ambulance teams and even game wardens with Fish and Game and CHP in the Central Valley. They have been closed due to the pandemic since March 19.
Troy, owner of the shop, has some 37 years in barbering while his dad Gary, who operates out of the second chair, boasts nearly 60 years with his clippers in hand. For the customers with a minimum of six months patronizing the friendly barbers, they can put the shoulder patch of their organization up on the wall -- where 100 patches can be seen today dotting the molding at the ceiling.
Frustrated by the closure, Troy’s wife Colleen painted a 12-foot-long banner telling of their feeling about the closure calling it “HOSTAGE CRISIS 2020.” Troy got out his ladder and hung the sign for all to see.
The banner reads:
“Our business, our family have been held Hostage by the state! Forced too close since March 20. Six weeks no income. Threats of $1,000 fines, arrest. Revoking of our licenses.”
RE-OPEN NOW! ... it further stressed.
Troy said customers have come in and pre-paid their haircuts to help the shop survive. Others have made monetary donations to help them keep up with their regular bills for rent and utilities.
“I thought we were going to be out of work for four weeks,” Troy said. “It has now been seven weeks. We have spent some 1500 hours learning how to cut hair and how to sanitize our shop,” he added. Now they see “sanitation” as their greatest challenge.
Troy explained he routinely puts the palm of a hand on the forehead of a customer when he sits down in his chair feeling for a fever. If the man’s head is hot he has always refused to cut that person’s hair for the sake of his health and that of his customers. A number of men over the years have gone to get a hair cut after leaving work because they feel sick.
Their customers come from as far away as Gray Eagle near Quincy, Vallejo, Lincoln, the Bay Area and Reno making up their customer base of more than 1,000.
Two of the elementary school boys who contracted cancer during the Weston School cell phone tower scare received unending support from the barber shop donating to their medical bills. They both have since survived. And, whenever there is a community need, a fund raiser, people have learned they can depend on the barbers for donations.
Troy said he has let his beard grow beyond his usual goatee and wasn't recognized by one of his customer in an open downtown store -- recognized only after he talked and his voice was recognized.
“We are a family here with out customers,” both father and son agreed.”We are both community guys and we try to help our community.”