Danny’s Barber Shop – A Place of Classic Kindness
May 29, 2015
By Cristina Manos
Danny’s Barber Shop is a place full of gratitude and generosity. The shop at 53 N. 6th Ave.
has been a barbershop since 1939. Danny Gamez bought the place 3 years ago, at the age of 23.
“If I can give to somebody and bless somebody and help them out,” Gamez says, “that’s all I’m living for.” He puts his words into action on a daily basis at Danny’s Barber Shop.
The barbers at Danny’s help everyone they can. They offer sliding scale fees as well as a buy-4-cuts-get-the-fifth-one-free punch card. They give free haircuts to UA athletes and unemployed folks who need to clean up for a job interview. Veterans get free services on Veterans Day and discounts on every visit. Danny’s also gives discounts to Downtown business employees.
Just about anyone who has fallen on hard times can go to Danny’s for a free cut, and the only thing asked for in return, is when you get back on your feet, you become a customer. That’s a pretty good deal!
Gamez and four other barbers work at the shop, which has vintage barbershop look and feel. The barbers are artists, design specialists, who take their craft seriously. A good reputation as a designer is built by featuring your art on a canvass that travels around town, the human head. A snazzy design sparks the inevitable question, “Who did your cut?” The design specialists at Danny’s are top notch and have street cred.
One such design specialist, Jesse Craft, thanks his lucky stars to be accepted into the barber family at Danny’s, where he can put his passion into action.
“It’s a blessing to be able to work at this place,” Craft says. “He [Gamez] allows me to be myself, and be as creative as I can.” Craft has been a barber for 25 years. He started cutting hair at the age of 11 under the training of his grandmother who owned “Ms. Maureen Craft’s Salon” on University Avenue. Craft has several legends in his family, but there’s more to his story than meets the eye. There’s a reason he expresses gratitude for working at Danny’s.
Just like many of the shop’s clients, Craft had fallen on hard times himself. Despite Craft’s success as a semi-pro football player and a long-time barber, he was struggling with addiction. While in the throws of his addiction time passed quickly, and 8 years ago Craft found himself living in a tent with a generator in a wash off Benson and Irvington. He was there for about a year, until the day came when he “asked the Lord for help and just got up and walked away.” He went straight to Pasadera recovery center, and took the necessary steps to detox.
After 25 years of using Craft says he doesn’t even think about it now. After walking away from his old life he continues to transform himself and to recover. He’s been at Danny’s Barber Shop for a month, and feels he is where he should be, designing hair and connecting with his community as a sober inspiration to anyone who has known such troubles. Closing the doors on addiction and self-destruction led to the opening of new doors, and working at Danny’s, a place of kindness and gratitude, is one door that Craft is happy he opened. Gamez was there to welcome him inside.
The guys at Danny’s are there to help. Stop by Danny’s Barber Shop to see modern day designs coming out of this classic old-school parlor, and to get a reasonably priced cut and shave that will have you looking dapper during your Downtown excursions.