Roslindale Barber Shop Business Profile
This is part two of a five-part series of photos and profiles of businesses in Roslindale Village. RVMS photographer, Bruce Spero, and RVMS Program Manager, Kelsie Evans, are visiting five businesses around the Village to capture some of what goes on behind the scenes. View more photos HERE.
Spend even a few minutes at Roslindale Barber Shop, and you’ll see that when Anderson Díaz, the owner, says “all our customers become friends,” he means it. Anderson has a joke or a smile for everyone that walks in, and that warm, welcoming atmosphere, plus their 5-star reviews online, keep the shop busy.
“Barbers really have to interact with people – you’re touching someone’s face – and after a few visits, you get to know them, learn about their day, and get close,” said Anderson. He puts new barbers through a test to be sure they have the technical skills, but says “it is about more than just cutting hair. We also care about what type of person a barber is – can he get along with co-workers and customers?”
Anderson’s focus on customer service and relationship-building has paid off. Customers in the shop that day had traveled from all over Boston, the South Shore, and even New Hampshire. Chester, a customer of Alex’s, comes from Braintree every week, “I come here for the people, and it’s a good quality haircut.”
“I used to live around here, on Poplar Street,” another customer, Terrance says, “and would come in for a haircut. I got close with Alex, then “Fraga” [Anderson’s nickname]. They’re like family here. I actually haven’t been in a few months and I missed it so I decided to come for a visit. They’re good people. It is money well spent.”
Each barber wears a uniform embroidered with a nickname, usually bestowed by Anderson. Sometimes they are obvious (for example, Sandy Cuevas, nicknamed “el Menor,” is short), and other times, based on the shared smiles when asked, you can tell there’s a longer story behind the nicknames. Other nicknames include “La Fraga” (Anderson), “Ñanga” (Jose Luis), and “Tigry” (Leander Jimenez).
The shop has a summer and a winter uniform, which Anderson adopted because it “looks more professional”
Roslindale Barber Shop prides themselves on quality reputation. “Our work speaks for itself,” said Anderson. They stay up on current styles and techniques, and encourage customers to show them a picture if they want to try something new, adding “we can do anything.”
This speaks to Anderson’s entrepreneurial spirit as a self-taught barber (and computer technician and English speaker). He’s from the Dominican Republic, and says, “In the Dominican Republic, everybody’s a barber. We like to go out and have fun, and have to be on point, so we get haircuts two – three times a week.”
Anderson moved to the United States from Baní, Dominican Republic ten years ago, first living in New Jersey before moving to Boston ten months later. He goes back to visit every year, usually during the winter, and his family comes to visit him. When we visited, his dad, Juan Díaz, was at the shop.
Most of the barbers in the shop are also from the Dominican Republic and they have built a community here in Roslindale. A neighbor named Netaly (who also has a nickname: “Niño Blo), often cooks them Dominican food and brings it to the shop, like boiled plantains and fried eggs for breakfast. Anderson is friendly with the nearby barber shops, saying, “they’re all Dominican, and most are from the same town as I am.”
Roslindale Barber Shop has been in business four years, and Anderson, a Roslindale resident himself, credits their success not only on their skills and 5-star reviews, but also the “foot traffic and clientele” in Roslindale. They are especially busy on weekends and around holidays, but with eight barbers, “the wait is never long.”
When asked about his favorite businesses around Roslindale, Anderson is quick to mention the snowflake roll at Diane’s Bakery, and says he and the other barbers enjoy chicken wings at Redd’s in Rozzie across the street, and playing pool at Napper Tandy’s.