Michelle Ramos knows a thing or two about dealing with change.
In 1997, when she was just 24, she took over The Barbershop in Jordan Village from a man in his 60s who had been there for years. He never told any of his longtime customers that he was leaving, so there was some culture shock when men came in, expecting an older man as a barber, and got a 24-year-old woman.
“They were surprised, and some of the men wound up leaving, and about half of them came back,” Ramos said. “I told them they have to find someone new anyway, they might as well try me. And I wound up keeping most of them.”
Now, there is another change at the shop located at 91 Rope Ferry Road, in the tiny strip mall that holds When Pigs Fly. The place moved one spot over in the strip mall into a space that’s three times bigger, and added a salon and a massage room. The name also changed to reflect that change, going from The Barbershop in Jordan Village to The Jordan Village Barbershop & Salon.
“I wanted to stay true to the barbershop, but expand into another service,” Ramos said. “It really all came together exactly how I wanted it.”
Ramos still has the traditional barbershop area in the front of the store, where she serves men, children and occasionally women. Behind that is a second room where two hair stylists, Pam Nieves and Jane Sauer, will run a salon. Another room off of that is an area for pedicures and manicures and then there is a private room where Nieves gives massages.
“I hope it is somewhere were men, woman, families, kids can feel comfortable,” Ramos said. “I think we did that.”
Before, Ramos was located in a 500-square foot space next to When Pigs Fly where she just had a barbershop. The space next to her used to be a hair salon, although that closed more than a year ago.
In December, Ramos decided to expand her business. She agreed to bring on Nieves and Sauer, who are both working as subcontractors and renting a chair from Ramos, to go with her other full-time barber, Tracy DeLaura, and two part-time barbers. In the beginning of January, the group all moved in to the new, 1,700-square foot space, although they still have some minor work to do.
For Ramos, her business began in 1997, with just her cutting hair by herself. Now, she has a full-time barber, two part-time barbers and two stylists renting a chair from her.
“It’s exactly what I want to do,” Ramos said. “Although I can’t believe 15 years has passed.”
Ramos is now a mother of two children, one 7 ½ and one 1 ½. She says she has a large child clientele, and says her own experience as a mother comes in handy.
“I have a lot of patience,” Ramos said. “I have my own children, so I understand. I try to make everybody feel comfortable.”