Monday, April 27, 2009

Welcome to My Neighborhood: Eddie’s Hairstyling and Barbering

In the header of my blog I proclaim that Summit to Shore includes theological and philosophical reflections on everything between summit to shore, including the Queens neighborhood of Ridgewood. Starting with this post I intend to begin focusing a little more on my neighborhood of Ridgewood than I have heretofore, especially some of the business and people in the neighborhood. Heaven knows, during the current recession, entrepreneurs need all the help and free exposure than can get.

Why blog about my neighborhood? I take my cue from another Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) Minister, now deceased, by the name of Mister Rogers.

For the record I only live in Ridgewood. I generally work in the Queens neighborhood of Flushing and in the Manhattan neighborhood of SoHo. I have lived in Ridgewood, and New York, since the end of July 2007. I do most of my shopping in the Ridhewood neighborhood and regularly walk our dog Hermes around its streets. In the process I have come to know some of the local business people and some of their employees.

The first business I welcome to my neighborhood is Eddie’s Hairstyling and Barbering (pictured top right), located at 59-11 71st Avenue, owned by Leo. Leo bought the business from Eddie in 2005. The phone number is 718-628-6028. Currently there is no website but the Leo is planning to have one real soon.

Leo started barbering at the young age of 16 and worked at various shops and salons before coming to Ridgewood. The last time I visited in his shop he was training his younger brother to possibly enter the trade. What he likes most about the neighborhood is its diversity. You can read some of my own reflections about this diversity in an earlier post. As proof of Leo's admiration of diversity, Eddie’s is a multi-lingual barbershop where I have heard Leo and his two employees speak languages I do not understand.

For Leo, barbering is not just a job but a profession. When I asked him to sum up his business philosophy he talked about haircuts being works of art. He invites both men and women to come in and experience for themselves how he and the two other barbers/stylists that work for him will listen to the customer to provide the style/cut . . . or work of art . . . they desire. His prices are reasonable and his service outstanding. I know because I am one of his satisfied customers.

The current recession has really been cutting (is that a pun?) into Leo’s bottom line as he has experienced about a 40% reduction in business as customers seem to be coming in less frequently, apparently cutting their own hair and their children’s hair at home.

Speaking of home, Leo provides a unique service. He makes house calls! By appointment he will bring the tools of his trade (pictured bottom right) to the homes of elderly men that are unable to come to Leo at Eddie’s. Talk about service! Talk about caring for his customers!

In addition to creating works of art on the human head and face (he will trim beards, mustaches and eyebrows), Leo also sells various hair care products, beverages, jewelry, and phone cards to his customers. While sitting in his chair or waiting for service customers may also watch Direct TV on one of several screens strategically placed around his shop.

Leo, welcome to my neighborhood. On the other hand, since you have owned a business here longer than I have been living here, maybe you should be welcoming me.

1 comment:

Jody Harrington said...

What an interesting post! I look forward to more of your stories about folks in your neighborhood.