Tuesday, Jun 19 2012 10:35 AM

Getting Around Downtown: Meet Joseph Mirabella of Lucky's Barber Shop

There is so much going on in our wonderful Historic Downtown Tehachapi. Downtown is the "heart" of our city and as such is a center of activity including government, police, business including retail, restaurants and professional services, museums and galleries. One of our very important goals at Main Street is to bring people downtown, not only by the events that we sponsor, but because we have businesses that you should patronize.

Just as American Express successfully promotes Small Business Saturdays, Main Street Tehachapi encourages you to shop local, buy local, be local.

Through this regular feature in the Tehachapi News I will be introducing you to our member businesses in our Historic Downtown.

Recently I talked with Joseph Mirabella the owner of Lucky's Barber Shop at 107 S. Green Street. You probably know him as Lucky or Joe. Lucky's Barber Shop has been in operation for 3-1/2 years. Joe has lived in Tehachapi for more than 25 years and in fact went through the Tehachapi Unified School District, graduating from Monroe High School.

So, let's get to know Joe and learn more about his business:

Linda: What type of training do you have to be a barber?

Joe: Barbers have to be licensed by the state board and in order to get licensed you have to complete at least 1500 hours of training at a recognized barber school.

Linda: What made you decide to pursue this career?

Joe: I had other jobs but I soon realized that I wanted to run my own business. My maternal grandfather was a hairdresser and a barber, plus my mom is a hairdresser and is an inspiration to me. On my father's side, my grandfather was an Italian sculptor who worked for the Rockefellers. So, art is in my family. I love what I do. It's not like a job to me. It's a great environment and I get to hear so many great stories. I was once told "if you love your job, you'll never work a day in your life." That's what really got me to do this.

Linda: So how did you come up with the name Lucky's Barber Shop?

Joe: It just seemed like a natural. As a kid a friend of mine nicknamed me Lucky because I just seemed to be lucky a lot. I also just feel so lucky to be doing what I'm doing, so why not call it Lucky's Barber Shop.

Linda: How did you come up with your Barber Pole Guy, who, by the way is really friendly looking?

Joe: Once I found this location, I just had a vision of what I wanted for a logo and was "lucky" enough to work with an artist that just "got it."

Linda: What's your favorite thing about doing business in Historic Downtown?

Joe: You see so many people who are just walking by and many of them will engage in conversation. I get a lot of walk-ins. People come from all over the world and some are really happy to find a local barber shop to get a haircut. Downtown is the "heart" of Tehachapi; the main street. Being in this business, you interact with people a lot. When I go out to restaurants or shopping, sometimes I see my customers, and it just all feels so friendly.

Linda: What makes your business unique in Tehachapi?

Joe: You know there are a few barber shops in Tehachapi but I'm one of the few shops that still use a straight razor.

Linda: People can be really picky about their hair. How strongly do you believe in customer satisfaction?

Joe: I get all age groups in my shop, from younger guys who want the trendy and hip haircuts to the older gents who want traditional styles. I don't want to overuse a word, but I've been really lucky that I haven't had any complaints or problems with my haircuts or shaves. I really try to make sure my customers are 100 percent satisfied when they leave my shop, not only with the cut or shave, but with the whole experience including the conversations, and the atmosphere.

Linda: Do you have anything else you want to add?

Joe: I'm thankful for all of the great customers who have been with me since I opened and all the ones I have now. Walk ins are always welcome. I hope that my customers see that I am so comfortable with straight razor shaves, that they feel totally at ease. Come in for a haircut and some interesting conversation (I'm bilingual).

Linda: Last but not least, what are your hours?

Joe: I'm open Tues.-Fri. from 10:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. and on Saturdays from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Lucky's Barber Shop at 107 S. Green St. Call 823-5426 for an appointment, or just walk in. You can get to know Joe and a lot other friendly and welcoming business owners by shopping locally.

LINDA CARHART is executive director of Main Street Tehachapi.

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