What comes around goes around, especially in Buffalo. That’s because for years it looked as if certain ways of life were falling by the wayside. But instead of dropping out of sight altogether, there are some nostalgic old world professions that are making a comeback. Take the art of barbering for example. Gabriel Rodriguez has opened a new barbershop in Allentown that captures the spirit of days gone by.
Gabriel’s desire to open a barbershop began when he was attending University at Buffalo’s School for Architecture and Planning. It was during one class that he found himself wondering if he was going to be truly happy in the profession, or was he just following the money? He found the classes to be extremely boring, and felt that if the pursuit of the career was dull, them maybe the job would be too (at least for him). That’s when he began to think about what would make him happy.
When he thought about professions that made him happy, his thoughts drifted back to being a young boy and going to the barbershop for a cut. He loved listening to the conversations, and sitting in the chair. He respected the barbers. He felt comfortable in a barber shop. So why not become a barber? He didn’t know anything about the tools of the trade, or what it would take to become a barber. Regardless, he packed his school bags and set out to attend BOCES in West Seneca. Since that time, Buffalo School of Barbering has opened at the corner of Virginia and Elmwood, which is great for the city.
Gabriel’s desire to open a barbershop began when he was attending University at Buffalo’s School for Architecture and Design.
After school, Gabriel began cutting hair under the tutelage of some older barbers in the area. “Those are the guys that I really respect,” he said. “At first, I barely knew how to speak to a customer. Now I’ll bust your chops if you want me to. I love talking about the Buffalo of today. I’m excited to see this current renaissance. I couldn’t wait to get my own shop and be part of everything that I saw going on.
Before he knew it, Gabriel was a certified barber, had logged in three years of barbering, and was on a mission to open his own spot. “It’s unusual to see single chair barber shops these days,” said Gabriel. “But that’s what I wanted to do. I found this beat up old place on Allen Street that was a complete mess. I almost walked away, but I figured that the proximity to the Medical Campus would be a longterm benefit. So my grandfather and I spent weeks fixing the place up. We peeled off three different laminate floors… it took weeks. At the end, we hung old photos of Buffalo from back in the day.”
More than anything else, Gabriel is proud of the hand painted sign in the front window. He told me that it’s the only hand painted sign on the block. The facade of the barbershop also has great transom windows – in fact, the entire frontage looks super sharp and eye-catching. Gabriel said that he felt that his sharp looking storefront is one of the reasons that he is so busy these days. When I spoke to him moments ago, he told me that he was just finishing his lunch, so he had some time to talk. But in general, he said, there’s not much time to sit around and chat (other than with customers).”
Gabriel is the first in his family to enter into the salon/barbering business. His grandfather is very proud of him, and can now track him down whenever he wants… for a haircut. Gabriel said that the neighborhood has treated him great, and he’s very happy to be where he is today.
Gabriel’s Barbershop offers cuts, hot towel shaves, beard trims… the basic services. Walk-ins only, and seniors and vets get a discount.
You can find the barbershop on Facebook.
Gabriel’s Barbershop | 40 Allen Street | Buffalo, New York | (716) 989-8220