DENVER -- Eddie Lopez says it's time to take it easy after cutting hair at Jigg's Barber Shop on Santa Fe since 1961.
Lopez took a two-year break while serving in Vietnam, then came back to work in 1966, and purchased the barber shop in 1968. He’s been cutting hair ever since.
But the barber shop days are numbered.
“Some lady came in and offered me a price for the building," Lopez said. "I said, 'Yes.'"
Lopez said he’s had numerous offers for the property in the past, but he wasn’t ready to sell. That changed recently.
“I got tired of working,” he said. “I’ve got to retire and enjoy life.”
Lopez, 75, told Denver7 that in his 55 years at 836 Santa Fe, he has seen many changes -- in the neighborhood and in hairstyles -- but one thing that hasn’t changed is the loyalty of his customers.
“My grandfather and grandmother have been bringing me here for a long time,” said customer Aron Baltierra.
Today, Baltierra brought his son, Aron Jr., to get a haircut.
“They’re good people here,” he said. “It’s going to be sad to see them go.”
“Everybody comes here because they love the family-oriented nature of the business,” said Kathy Medina, Lopez’ niece. “It’s a legacy on Santa Fe.”
“I remember sitting right next to him, watching him cut hair,” said Lopez’ son, Frank. “That’s how I learned how to cut hair.”
Eddie Lopez said he only hired family members, “because I can depend on them and trust them.”
Now, those family members will have to find new jobs.
“Hopefully, I can open my own shop one day,” Frank said, “and just take everything he taught me and run with it.”
When asked who gives the better haircut, father or son, Eddie yelled, “I do,” and then chuckled.
“I learned from the best,” Frank said. “I’m so proud of him.”
The elder Lopez said it’s likely that the new owners will convert his shop into an art gallery.
“This is art,” he said, pointing to a customer’s head.
When asked if he’s going to miss coming to work, he replied, “Yeah, I think so, but I’m going to try not to.”
The Santa Fe icon said he doesn’t have strong feelings, one way or the other, about his shop becoming a gallery, in a neighborhood full of them.
“One of these days, I’m just going to get up in the morning and come to work and I’ll see that it’s an art gallery and turn around and go home,” he said.
The longtime barber told Denver7 that he’s looking forward to retirement.
“I’m just going to relax and go fishing,” he said. “I want to travel to the parts of Colorado that I haven’t seen.”
He said he’ll miss his customers, and his customers said they’ll miss him.
“It’s going to be sad to see him go,” Baltierra said.