Gavin Godinez is a licensed barber at newly opened Blessed Barbershop, 1937 Blossom Street, Dos Palos. He is co-owner with Jose ”Chato” Rodriguez.
The men were looking for the ideal location when Jose spotted the “For Rent” sign on this main street building shortly after Christmas. The contract was signed in February, and by early June the remodeling and city and state inspections were completed.
I asked how the barbers came up with the name and angel wing with halo logo. Gavin answered, “Brainstorming.” Blessed Barbershop has a poetic ring. It implies the shop is welcoming of all people.
Gavin and Jose were victims of the Covid-19 shutdown. Just as they had completed their studies, passed the exams, and were licensed, barbers’ doors were bolted. They awaited a year of unknown before being able to start a business.
Dos Palos High School graduates, the guys got to know each other at Sierra Beauty College in Merced. Barbers get training and hours at a beauty school.
Gavin tells how interesting the studies are. Whereas students might think they will study hair styles and cutting techniques, the curriculum focuses on being sanitary. The state board test is all about sanitation.
Much of a barber’s time is spent sanitizing. The first thing in the morning, the shop is recleaned to remove anything that settled during the night.
Gavin explains that barbers learn cutting and styling techniques on YouTube. For an example of their barbering skills and techniques see @blessedbarbershop209 on Instagram. Find Jose @chatoblendz and find Gavin @gavingodinez.
Blessed Barbershop has a sleek appearance. Ring lamps focus the light, as other lights are in the high ceiling. Likewise, fans and an air-conditioner circulate cool air in the barbering space.
At Blessed Barbershop customers step into a mini-basketball court complete with hoop and ball. Gavin explains that the hoop keeps boys busy while waiting their turns. It serves as an incentive for toddlers and young customers as in “Sit still, and you can play as soon as your hair is cut.”
I asked Gavin if he has any special technique for dealing with first haircuts. His immediate response was, “Pray! Just pray that they will sit still.” His response fits the name of the business.
Gavin adds that sometimes he lets children play with the ball first and then promises more if they sit still. Imagine some little guy struggling hard to stay still so he can play.
About 90 percent of their youthful clients request a skin fade or a skin taper. Older customers generally ask for a “clean up” on their “gentleman’s cut.” Some of old-timers may not realize they are getting haircuts from Joe Antonetti’s great grandson.
Gavin is the great grandson of Joe who was a barber in the shop downtown next to Stocking and Cozzi Insurance office on Center Avenue. Joe was popular for taking out an electric massager and giving guys a shoulder massage after each haircut.
Joe’s wife was a beautician who styled women’s hair way back when. Gavin says, “Lots of people tell me that barbering is in my blood. Though, I think it is just coincidence.”
The barbers’ intent is to offer something new and positive for the community. Having played basketball and soccer in high school, they want to continue that spirit. Their mini court with a hoop is a place where people can come for fun. They do not need to go out of town.
Blessed Barbershop is grateful for the fantastic, enthusiastic response by the community. During the weeks before school both barbers were busy non-stop. The barbershop sells styling gel and is building an inventory of products.
Blessed Barbershop is open Tuesday through Friday at 10 a.m. until 6 p.m. Saturday is an early day, 8 a.m. until 2 p.m. Call Gavin at (209) 273-6626 and Jose at (209) 704-8182.