Eric James Yanko Franco
When I walked into Rich Cuts Barber Shop at 243 Lincoln Street in Worcester, Jose Ramos Jr knew exactly which haircut he would give me. “Small boy’s regular or 2 or 3 on side and leave the top a little bit longer. Maybe a little tight fade, shadow it out,” Jose stated confidently.
Ramos Jr, a graduate of Rob Roy Academy, started cutting his own hair when he was 13 as a way to avoid the line at the local shop by just getting it fixed up. Pretty soon people started to take notice of his natural talent and pretty soon he was cutting the hair of his friends. There were many different avenues Jose could have taken, cutting hair was a good way to occupy his time while also making people feel good. Not to mention the impact that barbers have on the community. They become peoples therapists, a big brother or father figure to some. “Barbers always get the best respect. Barber’s are always loved out here”
Worcester has a seemingly endless amount of barbershops throughout the city. Truepenny Barbershop at 14A East Worcester Street has more of a hipster vibe, Michaelangelo’s at 138 Green Street provides high end services, and some barbershops are even open late night. Quick Snips, at 572 West Boylston Street, recently opened but is quickly becoming a neighborhood favorite thanks to the kindness and talent of owner Daiva Ginkus.
Ginkus is a third generation hair stylist who immigrated to the US from Lithuania in 2008 with her three sons. Her mother and grandmother were both hairdressers, and although Ginkus loved watching her mother create “amazing bee hives and styles”, she was drawn to the neighboring barbershop. “At the salon it’s a lot of action, a lot of talk and that’s the energy, it’s busy energy. The barber shop was more quiet, more reserved, more centered. Conversation was more about life, topics and situations. It was a different energy. I liked it more because I was a more quiet, observant kid. I like to observe people and how they communicate and interact with each other.”
Ginkus is quick to credit the previous barbershops she worked at before opening Quick Snips, but she always knew she wanted her own shop. “My dream was always to have my own business all my life, and I just couldn’t believe this opportunity opened up. It’s amazing.”
Like Ginkus, Ramos Jr. spent time making a name for himself by working hard and meeting new people. “You have to get out of your area,” he explains, “On your downtime go for a walk, talk to people. Sitting down you’re not going to get it. Build a relationship with people.” Sal, a well known barber in Worcester noticed Ramos Jr’s dedication and skill to the craft, and arranged a surprise interview for him at the Rob Roy Academy. That was it from there. “Once I was a full time barber, I became a full time barber and that was that. I dedicated my lifestyle to the barber lifestyle.”
“Barbershops are a part of lifestyle,” Ramos Jr. says, “I mean you need a haircut, you need to look presentable. It’s health, it’s hygiene.” As for Ginkus, she says, “My passion was to make men look good. Men don’t give themself enough attention to how they look.”
Ultimately, barbershops are a vital part of our community. Barbers like Ramos Jr. and Ginkus have been cutting hair for generations of families.“To be a barber you have to love hair, you have to love being with people and communicating. You’re either meant to do it or you’re not,” Ginkus explains.