Once Again There’s a Curley’s Barbershop

February 4, 2013

By Teya Vitu

Thomas Curley is back with a barber shop of his own at 18 E. Ochoa St.

Thomas Curley has a new barber shop on Ochoa Street.

Thomas Curley has a new barber shop on Ochoa Street.

Curley’s name had been above the door across from the Ronstadt Transit Center for nearly all of the 21st century until health matters caused him to sell the shop at 53 N. 6th Ave. on Jan. 1, 2012.

Curley kept barbering on 6th Avenue at what was renamed Danny’s Barber Shop until the last week of January. He opened Curley’s Barbershop on Jan. 31 on Ochoa Street.

“I had health issues but I’m better now,” Curley said.

He brought along barber Raul Gonzales from Danny’s and added barber Jesse Diaz. They will be cutting hair on a somewhat unorthodox schedule.

Instead of the traditional Sunday-Monday closed days, Curley’s will be out fishing Sunday and Wednesday. In his time behind the Downtown barber chair since 2001, Curley came to learn that Wednesdays were a bit slow.

The shop will be open from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday and from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. “or whenever they stop walking in” on Saturday.

Ochoa Street? Where’s that? Two blocks south of Congress Street. Out the front window, the barbers can see St. Augustine Cathedral to the right and the back of the Scottish Rite Cathedral to the left.

“We’re trying to get the south side of Downtown going,” Curley said.

 Thomas Curley, Raul Gonzales and Jesse Diaz are at their work stations.

Thomas Curley, Raul Gonzales and Jesse Diaz are at their work stations.

Gentlemen were finding Ochoa Street that first morning in business. Three men wandered in during the 10 a.m. hour. Granted, one was Gonzales’ brother and another a long-time friend of Curley who helped set up the shop.

Why did Gonzales follow Curley off the beaten 6th Avenue track?

“Honestly, my boss, Tom,” Gonzales said. “He knows how to run a barber shop.”

Curley’s already thinking of diversifying beyond the scalp.

“We’re trying to get a shoe shine in here,” Curley said.

Curley and Gonzales are both veterans.

“We’re trying to take care of a lot of veterans here,” said Gonzales, a 20-year Army veteran who left as a sergeant 1st class.

“We want to welcome veterans here,” added Curley, who reached sergeant in his four years in the Marine Corps.

Curley hasn’t gone far in his 35 years as a barber: He learned the trade at Kincheloe Barber College, which was right next door to where Curley Family Barbershop is now. But he did barber for 12 years in Casa Adobes, 11 years at Speedway and Kolb and 12 years on 6th Avenue before circling back where it all started for him.