A Barber’s Tale

Dannis Gonzalez, 26, sat on a small ledge beside Chico’s Cuts, where he works as a barber. The recently-opened shop is located a few yards away from Orlando Latin Market in Saint Petersburg.

Gonzalez’s career began at 18 with experimentation. His friends would go to his house and allow him to carve out designs on their heads. He charged $5 for each cut.

“I put a lot of crazy stuff on their heads,” Gonzalez said in Spanish with a widened smile. “Little by little, you learn to cut hair and begin getting sharp.”

His initial designs ranged from lines to the widely-recognized Jordan logo.

Since the barber shop opened, Gonzalez said business has been good.

“We’re very happy to be working beside the bodega,” he said. “It’s a place that’s always full. It’s a good business — stable.”

Gonzalez said he loves his barber gig. For a while, he worked as a trucker.

“For me that was a mistake. I didn’t like it,” he said of that time in his life. “I didn’t like living on the road.”

Asked what men talk about in the barber shop, Gonzalez laughed. Everything, he said.

“The barber shop is the place where you go and find about everything, everything, everything,” he said. “Everything that’s happening in the Latino community is brought up here. They talk about sports, they talk about… everything. What’s hot in the moment, is discussed in the barber shop.”