Canyon Country Barber Shop on Soledad Canyon Road celebrated its 53rd anniversary on Friday. It’ll close its doors on Saturday.
Bob Ruiz, 79, who opened the place on June 10, 1969, isn’t happy about shutting the doors. He’s not sad, either. His daughter, Anita Ruiz, who’s been cutting hair there since February 1990, said her dad’s making the best of things and looking up, as he’ll continue cutting hair at a new barber shop closer to his longtime home in Piru once they move out to make way for new construction.
“The city gave the landlord permission to build apartments,” she told The Signal. “The plot’s been for sale for a while … In January, we got the paper that said we had to be out by the end of June.”
Ruiz said all the other tenants in the shopping center had already moved out.
“We’re the last ones here,” she added. “Because my dad wanted to make the 53rd anniversary.”
However, once Ruiz and her dad make the move to Piru, they’ll have a much shorter commute.
“We go through 32 stop lights to get here,” Ruiz said. “Well, 31. They’re putting another one in at Val Verde that hasn’t been turned on.”
And while she’s glad her dad won’t be driving 22 miles to work any longer, she still doesn’t want him to stop working.
“He’s in good shape,” she said. “If he were to stop, I don’t know what’s going to happen.”
But she guesses he isn’t going to stop cutting hair anytime soon. She said her dad loves cutting hair and that he’d cut hair “eight days a week if he could.” And since her mom died in February, Ruiz said working is all the more important to her dad.
Ruiz will continue barbering as well, she added, at least as long as her dad is still doing it. Truth be told, though, despite being a barber for over 30 years, she never wanted to do it to begin with.
“Cutting hair is not my passion,” she said. “I’m a ‘daddy’s girl.’ I follow my dad. I live with my dad again right now.”
As for the customers, some have been getting their haircuts there for 50 years, Ruiz said. Former U.S. Rep. Howard “Buck” McKeon and former Santa Clarita Councilman Bob Kellar were longtime regulars.
“I had been going there for literally, I don’t know, 20 or 30 years,” Kellar told The Signal. “You know what I like about it? You could go in there and it was just like when I was a kid — everybody would say hi, you’d get a good haircut, and Bob has just been, as far as I’m concerned, a fixture here … It’s just been a great, great place to go and get your hair cut. Nothing fancy. Just go get a haircut and get out the door. So, God bless Bob and I wish him well. I’m going to miss him and his staff, that’s for sure. And I know a lot of other people are going to miss them as well.”
Another loyal customer until his death in 1998 was cowboy star and Old Town Newhall Walk of Western Stars honoree Montie Montana. A little coincidence: Montana was born on the same exact day the barber shop opened — June 10 — only 59 years earlier.
Many customers have told Ruiz and her dad that they’re going to travel with them to the new shop in Piru. But Ruiz said she wouldn’t be surprised if they didn’t make the trip since there are so many barber shops these days that are much closer. She thinks the boom in barber shops is due to the fact that a barber’s license requires so much less.
“If you get your license now,” she said, “you’re not required to do a shave. This is just an old school barber shop — we shave, we still give scalp massages.”
And they’re closed on Sundays and Mondays, Ruiz added, just like those old barber shops many remember as kids.
That old-time barbering will travel with them to Piru as soon as they close up shop and get all the paperwork in order for the new one, Ruiz said.
“This opportunity happened to my dad,” she continued, “and now he’s going to go and change it around and make it better. He’ll now be closer to home, doing what he loves. But he just wants to die behind the chair. Either way, I can’t stop him. He’s a grown-ass man.”
Ruiz’s dad didn’t have much to say about the matter, not for the newspaper, anyway. Ruiz said it’s because he gets emotional. But she told The Signal that he said barbering is life to him. And, getting a bit choked up herself, added that working at the Canyon Country shop has brought him 53 years of joy. He’s no doubt sad to be leaving so many good customers behind, Ruiz said, but that he’ll be taking all the memories with him to Piru.
“He wants to thank everyone for their patronage,” Ruiz continued. “If for some reason they can’t find a new barber to replace him or are not happy, he’ll be in Piru waiting for them.”
Bob’s Piru Barber Shop will be located at 3956 Center Street in the town of Piru. You can call using the same number: 661-252-9888.