Santa Maria Sun / Biz Brief
The following articles were printed from Santa Maria Sun [santamariasun.com] - Volume 14, Issue 20
Spotlight on: Beacon Barber ShopWinston Bennie, owner
BY BRIAN WRIGHT
The Beacon Barber Shop in Orcutt now belongs to an enthusiastic new owner: certified barber Winston Bennie, who has no shortage of plans for his new digs.
Bennie recently described to the Sun his aspirations for the shop: “I want this place to be old-school; sort of a time warp, Americana style, harkening back to those days where getting a haircut wasn’t 10 bucks and 10 minutes, but a real experience.”
Bennie’s roots as a barber are humble, to say the least.
“I did my first haircut at 12. My buddy said his grandma messed him up real bad, and asked me to fix it,” he said. “He asked if I thought I could. I said, ‘No, but I can try!’ Cut came out perfectly. Couldn’t have been happier with it.
“I’ve since learned the importance of safe practice and techniques, and my knowledge has expanded a lot as well,” Bennie said. “I’ve gone to many other shops, well-known places around the state, traveled around, and I’ve learned a lot about what I can do with my shop from visiting those places.”
The shop exudes a comfortable and inviting atmosphere. Bennie’s clients and friends—one and the same—visited just for kicks. They joked around with him and enjoyed the open nature of the shop, epitomizing the way Bennie wants people to feel when they visit.
“I’ve always been into the old-school haircuts, straight razors, the camaraderie, all of that,” he said reminiscently. “People often come in just to hang out. They even like it if there’s a line—which there often isn’t, don’t worry, man—and they take their time, experience everything about talking to people and getting a quality cut.”
Bennie bought Beacon Barber Shop from the previous owners, the Reed brothers, on July 18. He used to cut at the Historic Santa Maria Barber Shop, located in the Santa Maria Inn.
Even though he bought the shop only a day before the Sun visited, Bennie had already set up several functioning parts of the shop and showed this reporter countless facets of the quaint, double-mirrored, two-chaired establishment that he was itching to fix up and redesign.
“My good buddy Berto van Veen is going to come up and work with me on new paint, new ceilings, new sinks—the whole nine yards,” Bennie said. “I might not even recognize it after a while.”
He takes pride in the premise of his old-style shop and the unique aspects it offers that set it apart from most barbershops in the area.
“This will definitely be the only Orcutt shop where anyone can simply walk in and get a cut and a straight razor shave,” he said.
He explained that straight razor shaves require official barber certification. It’s a precise craft, and only the careful and the steady handed can handle such a task.
“Barber schools that grant official certification touch on veins, dermatology, bone structure, understanding transmittable diseases—hepatitis, HIV—a lot of technical stuff,” Bennie said.
He also emphasized the importance of proper sanitation techniques: “I strongly believe that the public needs to be educated on sanitation and health issues that go along with getting a haircut.”
He went on to say, “I’ve seen cases of people getting ringworm, staph infections, even deadly diseases like MRSA. Going to garage barbers who don’t have sufficient knowledge and don’t use proper sanitation techniques can have some serious consequences, I mean I’ve seen all this stuff myself. It’s crazy.”
The new shop appears to be an interesting blend of modern sanitation techniques and technical knowledge mixed with an old-style, family owned atmosphere that welcomes camaraderie and good conversation.
“Barbering is one of the oldest professions in history. I’m proud to be a part of that, and trust me; the barbershop is still very much alive and well. It used to be a dying breed, but I think that straight razor shaves, good company, an emphasis on quality and community, all that are making a comeback,” he said.
Bennie can be reached at 937-6545. Beacon Barber Shop will be open Monday through Friday, 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. It’s located at 4850 S. Bradley Road.
Intern Brian Wright wants a straight razor shave soon. Information should be sent to the Sun via fax, e-mail, or mail.
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