In tight-knit communities such as Brownsville, businesses look for ways in which they can help those who have been hit hardest by the COVID-19 pandemic.
Such is the case of Golden Gate Barbershop, a local shop that has been serving Brownsville for over 30 years. The barbershop is offering free haircuts to residents who have lost their job due to the coronavirus.
Wearing gloves and a face mask, Ivan Gaucin, owner and barber at the shop, started welcoming customers at his shop after Gov. Greg Abbott made the announcement that hair shops could reopen on May 18. Gaucin said the shop has been closed for more than a month, leaving some customers with no alternative but to let their wives cut their hair.
“One thing that we’ve been seeing is that the wives would cut the customer’s hair and some of them looked very, very bad but we’ve been able to fix almost everybody,” Gaucin said. “We have not seen anybody left bald or anything of that kind, it’s been pretty bad but we’ve been taking care of them pretty well.”
The business owner said the idea to start helping the community with free haircuts came after he had a talk with his wife on ways they could help during these difficult times. He added when Abbott announced they could reopen, he promptly started to think of ways he could keep everyone safe such as closing the communal area where people would wait for the appointment.
“We were going by the State of Texas [to know] when we were allowed to open. As soon as they gave the green light, we started doing all these things about how we were going to organize the shop to open and keep working in a safe environment for everybody,” he said.
“My dad started the shop about 30 years ago more or less. I’m second generation and he opened it first on Boca Chica and I have taken over a few years back.”
Gaucin said those interested in receiving a free haircut should email the shop and show some sort of documentation that proves they are unemployed. He said he does not believe anyone would lie to him and wants to help whoever needs it.
“I want to ask them for paperwork or where they’ve been, I honestly don’t think there’s going to be people lying to me, I don’t believe that but I can feel who is going to need it or not,” he said. “At least, if they can tell me I was working here, and they’re not, is very obvious; we will help them out.”
Jaime Tacla, who has been a customer at the shop all his life, said he started going to the shop when his grandmother would take him as a little boy, now as an adult, he continues to seek service there because “he knows these people more than anything.”
“They do amazing work, I’ve been coming [all my life] and I have never been unsatisfied,” he said.
If you are in need of a free haircut, email the shop at firstname.lastname@example.org.
“We are blessed to be of blessing,” the business owner added.