Gary Medeiros and his son Troy are a throwback to another era.
They are a father-son barber team that runs an old-fashioned style barber shop in downtown Ripon.
They are both “talkers” and make it a point to make their customers feel at ease when they step through the door at the Medeiros Family Barber Shop. They chat their way through their countless haircuts — often getting a little boisterous.
The father and son team wanted to relocate from Fremont to Ripon years ago. Dad Gary first visited George Rocha “George the Barber” at his shop in the 100 block of East Main Street in Ripon’s historic downtown.
Gary had asked Ripon’s longtime barber if he could work for him only one day a week in an attempt to stay active in his trade. Rocha did him one better and suggested he walk across the street and see Bill Dykema who was about to retire and see if he would sell his shop to him and his son Troy.
It wasn’t long before the two men were cutting hair in Ripon in their small two-chair location across the street from Rocha. Within a number of years they built their own shop in the 200 block of South Locust.
Medeiros said Ripon is a “mellow community” where its residents can stroll around town or ride a bike any hour of the day or not and not worry about their safety.
“I ride my bicycle a lot around town and never worry about being hurt,” he said. “It’s not that way anywhere else.”
The Fremont transplant said his home community was once very much like Ripon in its quiet demeanor back when he graduated from high school. It’s a character Fremont has since lost with its steady growth.
Medeiros pretty much knows something about everything in his adopted town, having become a member of he Lions Club, The Ripon Historical Society and The Ripon Arts League (RAL).
“I want to know everything about this town — “This is our town, be proud of it,” he stressed.
The Ripon barber was born in the small town of Decoto in the Bay Area — now Union City. He then moved with his family at a young age to Hayward where he attended school through the eighth grade and graduated from San Leandro High School in 1962. He became a barber right out of high school earning $65 a week.
“Big money in those days,” he chuckled.
He remembers working in a shop with 33 other barbers. Medeiros and his wife Marde moved to Ripon when their daughter Denay got sick and needed their support, he added.
“I fell in love with the town — been living here 21 years and had our own house built,” he said.
Obviously proud of his son-in-law who started a tile business in town, he watched as his daughter became a nurse at the Sierra Conservation Camp maximum security prison near their home in Coperopolis — also referred to as the Jamestown Prison.
“You know everybody in Ripon — you quickly feel like family,” Medeiros said.
He told of a young boy named Kyle who had lost a kidney and his family needed support that they found in the community to help pay their medical bills. The barber shop got behind a fund raiser for the boy and even put a money donation jar in the shop. Many people came into the shop on a regular basis to drop money into the container.
Medeiros added that when their daughter was sick many people voluntarily brought meals to the family that left him and his wife amazed. The father-son team hopes that everyone who comes through their door on Locust Avenue, just south of the downtown, feels like family and connects with the friendly talkative atmosphere of the surroundings.
To contact Glenn Kahl, email email@example.com.