It’s a comedy act routine for the faithful at one Ripon barber shop.
Troy and Gary Medeiros make having a hair cut a memorable experience at their Ripon “all in the family” barbershop drawing some customers from as far as 100 miles away to enjoy their give and take.
The father and son team create a comedy atmosphere mixed with sports memorabilia from major league teams and law enforcement items in a town that has hundreds of current and retired law enforcement officers from various jurisdictions living in the community.
One visit is all that it takes to be hooked on the place with its warm, light-hearted atmosphere that makes every customer know they are special to the business – they are family.
Medeiros said they should put a couple of video cameras in the shop to capture ongoing conversations between barbers and their customers. One customer sitting in the shop waiting for his time in the chair added, “Nobody would think it was real”
“I love being right here. I tell my customers they have to see the Veterans’ Museum and the library that is now a museum and the nearby jail museum,” he said. “I have fun and I get to meet people. This is the greatest job in the world.”
Steve Faries who has been a customer for years said he wouldn’t go anyplace else.
“It’s always fun coming in here over the years,” he said. “If I didn’t like it, I wouldn’t drive all the way over here from Patterson.”
The shop is now owned by the younger Medeiros who has his father Gary actually working for him. Gary began barbering years ago in San Leandro with many of his customers following him to Ripon when he and his son moved some 14 years ago.
A past president of the Ripon Lions Club, Gary Medeiros said he was awed by Rotarian Harrison Gibbs who he watched give of himself in community service. Gibbs had voluntarily repainted the parking stall lines at the library, replaced the round, white stall parking caps in the downtown parking areas and placed new blue fire hydrant locaters in the middle of the street throughout the city. The reflectors allow firefighters to easily locate hydrants in the dark of night when responding to a fire.
When Medeiros learned Gibbs was also taking on the painting of all the hydrants in the community with a new coat of yellow, he responded, “I want to be part of what you are doing.”
Realizing the enormity of the challenge for two men, Medeiros talked with Lions Club president Ed Ormonde about creating a service club team to help Gibbs paint the hydrants throughout the city. Now Gibbs is no longer standing alone in his current project. One barber and the barber’s Lions Club members have come to his aid.
The use of credit or debit cards are out of the question for anyone who has left their cash at home. Instead they go on a list of customers with tabs and who promise they will pay later.
Tongue in cheek, son Troy chuckled when he said, “If they don’t pay we’ll be sending Big Al or Big Tony out to see you and collect.”
A retired Stockton homicide detective sergeant was in Gary’s chair Thursday morning getting his hair cut – one of hundreds of law enforcement officers living in Ripon. When looking around the room the barbers’ appreciation of their police customers can be seen by the rows of uniform shoulder patches mounted near the ceiling.
Head photographer of the Oakland Raiders, Tony Gonzalez, lives in Ripon and is a customer at the Medeiros shop. A scout for the Braves, Tom Davis, has also been a regular customer. Gary said Davis had also been with the Angels and the Seattle Mariners.
The father and son team agreed that there are only two barber shops in Ripon – if you don’t fly a barber pole, you are not a barber shop, Gary insisted. Troy interjected light-heartedly with, “You know, barber shops invented the candy cane first with the barber pole.”
As troy was finishing a haircut on high school student Samuel Pryor, he said, “If your girlfriend doesn’t like it, tell her Gary did it.”
The shop is like a magnet to members of the community. At a recent wine tasting event in the downtown a good number of well wishers ended up at the barbershop dancing to recorded music courtesy of the Medeiros team.
“Once they started dancing, they didn’t want to go home,” Gary laughed.
The shop is located at 207 Locust Avenue at First Street.