Kyle Dixon and Kyle Kranen traveled to the Menlo Park Barber Shop at 2100 Avy Avenue for an under-the-razor interview with the proprietors of this new West Menlo Park business.
Last Tuesday was a big day for Sam Valero, Woody Jackson, and Yvonne Soliz. It marked the grand opening of Valero’s longtime dream, a barber shop that he would run and operate, and the first of its kind to come to the West Menlo Park business district in recent history. Valero and his fellow barbers are no strangers to the Menlo Park community. All three worked at Golden Shears for many years in downtown Menlo Park, and catered to many loyal customers from the local area. Valero hoped to stay at Golden Shears for a while longer, but when taking into consideration the exorbitant property values and parking problems in the downtown area, decided that it was time to make a move and find a place of his own, bringing much of the best hairdressing talent and customer base to a new location. Jackson likened the change in locale to moving out on their own after a long ‘apprenticeship’ at Golden Shears.
Luckily for the Menlo Park Barber Shop, loyal customer bases for the three veteran barbers have paid off, and many familiar faces have returned to their favorite hairdressers in their new digs. Valero hopes that the new location, near the Dutch Goose restaurant, will be easily accessible for returning customers and those in the West Menlo Park area. He hopes to pick up families from schools such as Hillview and La Entrada as well working professionals from nearby Sand Hill Road. And judging by a nearly full appointment book despite having just opened, it seems that the gamble on the West Menlo Park location certainly paid off. But Valero stresses the importance of getting the word out and letting the community know that there is a new, convenient shop in town.
The M-A Chronicle went beyond a simple interview of the Menlo Park Barber Shop team. We decided that in order to fully experience this new barber shop, we would put ourselves under the scissors and learn more from a customer’s point of view.
Perhaps the first thing you notice when you walk into the Menlo Park Barber Shop is the unique atmosphere. Contrasting the dry, utilitarian features of other barber shops in the area, aspects of the Menlo Park Barber Shop remind one of the past, when getting a haircut was an intimate experience between barber and client. The shop is very small, yet remains quaint and elegant. There are six sets of chairs and mirrors set up in a tight configuration, but this doesn’t bring feelings of congestion, rather it creates a warm, personal ambiance. This was very important to Valero and Jackson when designing their new business. They wanted to bring back the social barbershop, where customers can relax and gossip with barbers with whom they share a strong relationship. And from what we’ve seen, it looks like their emulation has been true to old traditions.
As for the haircuts themselves, Valero stresses the mantra of excellence over expedience. Appointments are on the longer side, around 30 minutes, which Valero says allows for a more precise, and personal cut. Of course, this extra attention comes at a price. Customers at Golden Shears will notice similar rates at the Menlo Park Barber Shop, around $33 for a child and $35-$38 for a student or young adult. While this is certainly not the cheapest option in town, both of us were very pleased with our haircuts and the overall experience at the shop.
Our verdict: The Menlo Park Barber Shop returns on its promise of a personal, old fashioned haircutting experience. The prices are certainly more upscale, but we felt that the significant attention of a longer appointment made it worth it. The location is possibly its best attribute, as there are no other barber shops in the West Menlo Park district where it is located. There are many great barber shops in the local area, but if you are looking for somewhere to go in West Menlo Park, the Menlo Park Barber Shop is an excellent option.
Here are some before and after pictures of our haircuts: