Antioch Barbershops Foster Community Spirit

Slick's Barber Shop boasts eclectic decor, including a large model car collection and several musical instruments.

by Amy Claire

Most people recognize a pole with red and white stripes as the sign of a barber shop, and more and more Antioch residents are enjoying the old-time community feel of receiving a haircut or shave from a barber who is also a friend.

One of the oldest local barbershops, Slick’s, has been open for 20 years at 727 W. 10th Street. Owner Ken Rivera decided to make a career change and opened the shop, offering barbering services for men and boys. Slick’s is decorated with an enormous collection of model cars and includes a special play area for children. “Once you step in the door, you’re family,” Rivera said.

Denny Gonzales, co-owner of International Barber Shop at 200 Rossi Ave., echoed that sentiment. He and his business partner Jerald Staughter strive to maintain a family-friendly, relaxing environment in their shop. International offers diverse services, including hairstyles from all nationalities. Gonzales learned to cut hair as a child by watching his neighbor. “There’s no such thing as a perfect barber because you’re always learning,” he stated.

Lito Soliven, owner of Lito’s at 11 W. 6th Street, also began cutting hair as an adolescent, giving his first cut to his younger brother at the age of 11. Lito’s offers traditional barbering services and short women’s hairstyles. Soliven enjoys his work and the flexibility of business ownership, which allows him to spend more time with his daughter. Soliven shared that he is also an inventor, and is currently looking into patenting one of his creations.

Brian Martin of Delta Barber Shop at 1631 A Street also enjoys his entrepreneurial life. “You can run your business the way you see fit,” he said with a smile. He described Delta, open since 1964, as “very traditional,” primarily offering shaves and men’s haircuts.

Of course, barbers face challenges. Al’s barber shop at 11 W. 18th St. was recently robbed, though shop manager Al Stewart says it isn’t going to slow them down. “We’re still going to conduct business in the city of Antioch because there’s great people here,” he said. Al’s offers both modern and past-decade hairstyles. Stewart appreciates the influence he has as a barber: “When they don’t feel good about themselves, a haircut changes everything.”

The popularity and customer loyalty experienced by all of these shops certainly suggests that people value their hairstyles, but more significantly, they value the friendships they develop with their barbers.

Denny Gonzales shares a laugh with a customer at International Barber Shop.

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International – Denny Gonzales


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