Going Mobile: Rosarito’s Blue Barbershop Bus
If you live in Rosarito, no more excuses about how much time it takes to get a haircut. It’s quicker and easier than ever. All you need to do is walk one block east from the main boulevard and you’ll find Rosarito’s newest and most eye-catching barbershop. Named “Ozrey,” the bus and mobile salon is owned by a man named Hector. Hector is always in a happy mood. When asked how he can work long hours seven days a week, he explains, “You must love your job. You must love what you are doing.”
Hector was born in Mexico. He left the country at the young age of nine years old and ended up in Las Vegas, Nevada. There he quickly found a job as a dishwasher at the Mirage Casino. Later he moved to Chicago, Illinois where he opened his first barbershop. This was followed by a second and then a third shop. In recent years, however, he had become discouraged with the economy in the United States, along with all of the bureaucracy a business owner faces. During one of his vacations to Puerto Rico he observed a number of mobile barbershops converted from small buses. The more he saw these the more inspiration he gained – he decided he would return to Rosarito, the former home to his grandparents, and operate a barbershop on wheels.
He began his search for just the right bus. Living in Chicago there were an abundance of buses for sale; however, if you look at the license plate on his business you will discover it is from Missouri. He paid $1500 for the used school bus. It had 70,000 miles. Aside from the other amenities he paid an additional $650 for each of the barber poles. It cost another $700 to bring the bus into Mexico. He opened his business eight months ago and he is very pleased with the success he is experiencing. He said most of his customers are locals and younger men. On this particular day there were four young men in his ‘shop.’ They ranged in age from 12 to 16. One of them showed Hector his cell phone. This displayed pictures of the haircut he wanted. Another brought his computer. He also showed pictures of his favored haircut. Hector says he mostly has young customers, through word of mouth, as the young people are very particular about their haircuts, and he has proved his ‘creativity and talent’ with this age group.
Before opening his business Hector knew exactly what he wanted his bus to look like. He could close his eyes and see it parked on the street. After purchasing the bus he immediately started converting it to match the vision he saw in his mind. He first removed the seats in the bus. He reinforced the floors to handle the weight of the barber chairs. He added a long bench for ‘waiting customers’ to sit. Next Hector installed the wide-screen TV along with Wi-Fi. The generator was placed in front of the bus to handle the electrical load. It also keeps the ‘barber poles’ running throughout the business day. Instead of paying rent he pays $200 per year for the permit. In the evening, when he closes shop, he hops behind the driver’s seat and takes his business home. In the near future Hector will begin offering cold beer to customers 18 years and older who want a cool beverage while they wait. The beer will be complimentary. Aside from cutting men’s and boy’s hair he also offers shaves and ‘menscaping.’ Hector offers his haircuts for 60 pesos – and this includes beer, for those of age, Wi-Fi, wide-screen TV and all of the other features available in his ‘shop.’
Hector isn’t resting on his laurels, either. He has plans to expand. Although he originally wanted to open a second location in La Paz, he has reconsidered and decided he will open the next mobile barbershop in Ensenada. He will hire a barber to operate the bus, and hopes to open by July. The only difference between the two ‘offices’ is that the Ensenada bus will be a double-decker. His plans are to offer a bar on the upper floor where men can have a drink, talk, watch sports, work on their computer, or just relax while they wait for their haircut. Rosarito’s blue barbershop bus is open from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. Monday through Thursday, and from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. on the weekend.You can reach Hector at 661-527-7549.
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