With new Navy personnel activity restrictions released at the end of June to help combat the spread of COVID-19, Coronado barber shops are looking at losing many of their military personnel and dependents as customers.
Presently Navy folk are left to visit the very few installation barber shops or salons remaining open, and regulation grooming standards are being relaxed. It’s Navy-recommended that military families avoid public places as well. All four of Coronado’s local barbers discussed a large drop in business.
Island Barbers has roughly 70% of their business come from active duty military. Coronado Barbers on C Avenue said military is half their business. The large drop in clientele shortly after reopening seems another blow in a long line of blows for so many small businesses.
While the Navy prohibited or advised against many other places for now — the recent restrictions making rule-breaking punishable — Coronado’s four barber shops do rely on military cuts.
Pattie and Mike Albelo have owned Island Barbers for 24 years. Their main barber, Joe Alejo, started working at Island Barbers a month after the Albelo’s opened the shop. Albelo said they’ve been reopened for about a month now, since closing for the three months prior. There were still some people avoiding public places, Albelo noted, but everything was going great and busy; they were even a little busier.
“I noticed last week (the week the restrictions came out),” Albelo said of the drop. “I was like, where are our military clients?”
Albelo’s husband sent her a post about the Navy update and one of her clients also mentioned it.
“I understand,” she said. “You have to have the readiness as military. You can’t have a bunch of sick military people if you need readiness. I understand totally. It just was like, they’re kicking us when we’re down. We’re on our knees. We just wanna stand back up. And I’m not the only shop. It affects all our shops. We’re all involved. Nobody really knows how long this is going on. We’re doing what we can.”
Albelo said they’ve always wanted to keep it affordable for young sailors or families with multiple children. Ages 13 and under are $16, with military at $13 — regardless if your hair is long or short. She also mentioned their cuts 24 years ago were $8 and today are still only $13 or $16.
“I can’t project the way it will go,” she said “I just have no idea. It’s all based on a lot of what the military’s gonna do. A huge percentage of our business is active duty. A huge percentage.”
She said there are a lot of local clients but if you come right down to it, when a ship is in or you think of the amphibious base too, their business runs on military.
When asked about cleanliness reassurances, Albelo described their routine, from taking temperatures to wearing masks and gloves as well as boxes of spare masks if a customer doesn’t have one. They keep the chairs six feet apart and do a thorough cleaning after each customer.
“It’s been pretty easy, it really has,” she said of the health standards for the shop, which is the oldest barber shop in town — opened in 1960.
The Albelos bought the shop from the original barbers who worked there.
“The rest of the guys branched out,” she said, “that’s how some of the others started.”
The other thing Albelo wanted to share beyond mentioning her fellow barber shops is:
“We love pets. So bring your dog down; we have doggie treats.”
The four Coronado barber shops — all offering affordable prices — can be found at the following addresses and phone numbers if you or your family is considering an appointment for a trim or new look:
- Bow Ties & Haircuts Barber Shop, 1106 10th St., (619) 435-2094
- Coronado Barbers, 103 C Ave., (619) 435-6064
- Crown Barber Shop, 947 Orange Ave., (619) 435-8637
- Island Barbers, 857 Orange Ave., (619) 437-6990