Jaime Briones (right) gives Angel Ramirez a fade haircut in the bright and spacious salon area of the shop.
A building interior that was once covered in dust and dirt now sports shiny, clean floors with barber chairs at regular intervals, a foosball table to make the wait go by faster and ample seating for people waiting for either a haircut or a tattoo.
This is Alex's Barber & Tattoo Shop. The old Sunnyside warehouse is a clean cream color on the outside and inside it has tiled flooring and a new coat of paint.
The building, erected in 1910, has had various uses in the last 60 years, including a long stint as part of an appliance store and a few years as storage for a local flooring company. It was vacant for a few years before it was purchased in 2011.
"We worked a long time to fix it up," said owner Alex Garcia. He said it took more than two years for himself and co-owner Anjelica Rojas to get the building ready for the grand opening. Since then, business has been steady.
Garcia has been cutting hair for 12 years and his perfectionism shows as he works at his station, giving the customer the perfect cut. He has seven barber stations ready for customers and a room for tattoo work is at the side of the main room. Two waiting areas have ample seating.
Garcia is originally from the Los Angeles area, but he moved to Sunnyside seven years ago. He's now raising a family with five children, four of them girls. He said raising his children takes up his spare time.
He trained to be a barber, and six years ago learned the art of tattooing. A few years ago his business was becoming cramped at its old location.
When Garcia purchased the property two and a half years ago, he said he hoped to make the historic warehouse a jewel for the city. He may have succeeded. The new space is open, bright and welcoming.
And customers have been arriving in a steady stream, giving the corner building, standing across from the Conquistador Restaurant, new life.
Alex's Barber & Tattoo Shop, located at 600 Railroad Ave., is open weekdays 10 a.m. to 6:30 p.m., Saturdays 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. and Sundays 9 a.m. to 2:30 p.m.