Jonathan Reid started out as a shoe-shine boy in his father’s barber shop on Edwards Air Force Base. He worked his way up, and at 16, he took off alone to Rosston University of Men’s Hair Design in San Bernardino, where he studied during the day, washed dishes at the next-door bar and grill at night, and slept out back on a cot. Straight out of barbering school, he won a haircutting contest, bringing in job offers from nearby Los Angeles.
He found a rental in Redondo Beach and launched his career, which quickly evolved from straight-up haircutting to high-end grooming and styling. In the late 1970s, he visited a friend in Santa Barbara and succumbed to its beach-town allure, working at Henry Franco’s salon for several years. To get away from the hairdressing chemicals, he eventually circled back to his barbering roots, taking over a chair at Danny’s Barber Shop in Loreto Plaza about eight years ago. In January 2016, he bought the place from second owner Sam Huerta.
Earlier this year during a remodel project, Reid was in the shop’s ceiling crawl space when he discovered old photographs and paperwork, including a handwritten letter describing original owner Danny Ramirez’s background. Ramirez was born in Santa Barbara in 1924 and served in the U.S. Navy during World War II. One day at sea in 1944, he got tired of waiting in line for a haircut, so he and another sailor cut each other’s hair. Ramirez did a fine job, and “the next thing he knew he had his next four customers standing in line,” according to the document.
After the Navy, Ramirez enrolled in barbering school and started cutting professionally in July 1946. Back then, a haircut cost 35 cents. In 1952, he opened Danny’s Barber Shop at 12 West Figueroa Street (where Willie’s Barber Shop is today). In 1960, he noticed a growth boom along Upper State Street and relocated; Danny’s Barber Shop was the second business (behind the pharmacy) in Loreto Plaza.
“This is a special shop — and not just because it’s been around for 56 years,” Reid said. “We’ve got some really great barbers, but the best thing about this place is the incredible clientele. Danny was great at building it up over the years, and Sam sustained it. Now it’s my turn to take care of them.”
3337 State Street; (805) 687-7915