Three unlikely barbers are cutting hair and growing a business with the skills they learned at Tooele Applied Technology College’s barbering program.
Lynette Davila, Aaron Garcia and Cody Greenburg all finished TATC’s barbering program and now work at “D” Old Time Barber Shop in Tooele City at 25 E. Vine St. The barbers say their education and the opportunities it has provided are giving them the lives they always wanted.
Davila always wanted to be a barber, but her parents had different ideas.
“This dream has been in my head since high school, but my parents said I needed to go to college, because that was just what you did back then,” she said. “So I went to college.”
After a career working for the government and at Dugway Proving Ground, she retired.
“And when I retired, I decided I was going to do what I had wanted to do all along,” she said. “I went and got my barbering license.”
Davila graduated in 2015 from TATC. She and her husband, Herbert, owned two barbershops in the area, and she wanted to make one of these her own.
She did all the decorating in the “D” Old Time Barber Shop herself.
“One day a gentleman was in my chair and he told me he was an interior design instructor at Brigham Young University and there was not one thing in the shop he would change,” she said. “It made me feel really good.”
Another feature of the shop she enjoys are the penny candy machines.
“We even give out the pennies if you need one,” she laughed. “Everyone is welcome to some.”
Of the three barbers, Davila enjoys working with the most are the older gentlemen.
“I can just give them more attention and they appreciate it,” she said. “That is my favorite part.”
Davila hired Garcia right out of TATC about one-and-a-half years ago. She just recently added Greenburg.
“My husband is in the barbering course, too, at TATC and he was in class with Cody, so we decided to offer him a job,” Davila said of Greenburg. Herbert Davila is in the process of finishing his barber training.
Garcia said he never planned on being a barber, but advice from his dad led him in that direction.
“He told me to get a trade education, so I could work during school,” Garcia said. “So, at first it was just a back-up plan where I could make good money and not be working at McDonald’s.”
Garcia was busy at Tooele High School where he wrestled and ran track. His dad inspired him to start looking at schools while still in high school. He was interested and started classes at TATC as a junior.
“It was like, ‘Hey, I really love this!’ and it was like, ‘I don’t have to make myself love it,’” he said. “I love to come here and help people and get better myself with every cut.”
Because of the tuition programs at TATC, high school students with a 3.0 grade point average or higher can take classes tuition-free. Garcia said he was able to save hundreds of dollars.
“I was all done with the program the summer after graduation,” he said. “The program was just an awesome experience. The teachers were all good. I went in there to get what I needed — the book work, the haircuts, the customer experience.”
The barbering program requires 1,000 hours, which can be taken part-time or full-time.
“You just go in there and learn how to cut and do the basics, but you also learn to work with people, analyze their hair, but also to have a personal level with them,” Garcia said. “Lots of people go to get their hair cut and to get stuff off of their chest.”
Garcia said he has gone through a lot of leadership positions in his church and was good at speaking and relating to people.
“It is the personal approach, you need to be there to love people and serve them,” he said. “You are not there for you, but you will meet the good, the bad and the ugly — they are all there, and you need to know how to work in different situations.”
Garcia is grateful to have solid training and the ability to set his own hours and prices,
“When my wife got pregnant, I knew I needed to be able to support my family,” he said. “If you just have a high school diploma, you are making $9 or $10 an hour. If not for barbering, I would not know how to support my family. And here I am making $15 a haircut.”
Garcia said he loved going to barbershops with his dad and younger brothers when he was growing up. After the haircuts, they would go and get doughnuts, then see a movie.
“The barbershop is just a place to hang out and talk, just to be together,” Garcia said. “One of my favorite times here was when there was a soccer game on with Brazil and when Brazil won, the shop was just going crazy and jumping up and down.”
When young men come in, they tend to complain about how the older generation is too strict. The older men come in and want to talk about how corrupt the younger generation is, he said.
There was such a demand at the shop, that Garcia and Davila made room for a third chair and invited Greenburg to be part of the team.
Greenburg also had an interesting story which led him to barbering. He said he learned more about the profession during his mission to California.
“I never even thought about getting a vocational degree,” Greenburg said. “When I went on my mission, I would sit in a lot of barber chairs and they would talk about it as a career with your own hours and your own prices.”
When he came home, he figured he would give it a shot.
The Grantsville High graduate started researching programs. Some of them cost up to $15,000.
“No way I could afford that,” Greenburg said. “Then I heard about TATC and how the program could be as short as a year, and how they were flexible about your scheduling.”
It was a good program, he said, with instructors willing to sit down with you and show you specifics about your training.
“Really, my favorite part now is that I have my own space,” Greenburg said. “I just pay booth rental and I feel like I have more control over my own life. How hard you work is what you will get out of it.”
The reviews for “D” Old Time Barber Shop on the internet show four out of five stars, with many of the customers raving over the barbers. Several reviews state the barbers are especially good with kids. The shop is at 25 E. Vine St. and is open from 10 a.m.-6 p.m. Monday through Saturday. Customers may walk in or call ahead at 435-882-3462 for an appointment.
The three barbers welcome their hometown community to come see what they can do with their TATC training, an old-time shop and three barber chairs. They are just waiting to trim Tooele’s tresses.