• August 13, 2020

Empire Barbershop adjusts to new norms - Odessa American: Local News

e-Edition Subscribe

Empire Barbershop adjusts to new norms

Font Size:
Default font size
Larger font size

Posted: Friday, July 10, 2020 10:27 am

For Carlos Villerreal, the last two months have been an adjustment to say the least. 

Villerreal and his wife, Amyee Duarte, co-own and operate Empire Barbershop located at 120 E. 8th Street in downtown Odessa.

The shop was closed during the early stages of the COVID-19 pandemic in March and reopened in May after Gov. Greg Abbott’s executive order allowing barber shops, nail salons and beauty shops to reopen their doors to customers.

Since reopening, Villerreal says business has seen an early dip before steadying out. He attributes that to the economy as a whole in the area.

“A lot of people have lost their jobs as well,” he said. “We were a little slower than usual but I think as long as another shutdown doesn’t happen, I feel we’ll be able to stay steady and make it.”

In order to make things work and to stay in compliance with the government’s guidelines for barber shops to operate, Villerreal took a different approach with his business. Abbott’s executive order allowed barber shops to reopen May 8 but Empire did not open until May 12, the following Tuesday.

At the time, Villerreal and Duarte told the Odessa American that it was done to give the staff more time to prepare with the upcoming safety measures.

“At the end of the day, our barber’s safety is just as important as anyone who visits our shop whether you’re a long time client or someone who is just dropping in for the day,” the statement read in part.

Two months later, Villerreal says he’s glad he went that direction.

“It helped us dodge a little bit of the rush of people wanting to get haircuts right away,” he said. “We weren’t too slammed and we didn’t have to worry about that too much. I think everything worked out better that way.”

The barber shop had a steady stream of customers Wednesday afternoon as the shop is set up differently to what it was before. Everyone is required to wear masks in compliance with the statewide mask mandate except for when getting a haircut. The shop has also spaced out the barbers in line with social distancing guidelines as well.

Villerreal added that cleanliness was paramount in his training to become a barber and is even more so while trying to stay open.

“We’ve spread everybody out and we make sure that we clean up really well,” he said. “Barbers take care of our stuff and we clean everything well from our clippers to our chairs and stations. It’s not really too much of a change for us to do this.”

Villerreal added that the shop is looking to hire two more barbers to the shop to keep up with the demand. The best way to get in contact for those positions is to either send a message on the company’s Facebook page or call the shop and ask for Carlos.

Villerreal also said that he’s been keeping a close eye on the increase of coronavirus cases in Ector County. He hopes that he doesn’t have to shut down the shop again and is simply trying to make the best of the situation.

“We haven’t heard anything so far about that,” he said. “Hopefully nothing changes.”

Odessa, TX

Current Conditions

Humidity: 14%
Winds: S at 12mph
Feels Like: 104°

Your Extended Forecast


High 105°/Low 77°
Mainly clear. Lows overnight in the upper 70s.


High 106°/Low 77°
Partly cloudy. Highs 104 to 108F and lows in the upper 70s.


High 102°/Low 74°
Times of sun and clouds. Highs 100 to 104F and lows in the mid 70s.
Online Features

Pet Central


Having a pet is a lot of responsibility, and we’ll help by giving you lots of tips and tricks! More >>



Our fitness articles will help teach you how to work out with gym- and home-based exercises. More >>



Enjoy the crosswords challenge in our free daily puzzles, from the harder Sunday crossword to the quicker daily. More >>



Every Sudoku has a unique solution that can be reached logically. Enter numbers into the blank spaces so that each row, column and 3x3 box contains the numbers 1 to 9. More >>

  • ALL-ACCESS: Subscribe to our e-edition and premium website at myoaoa.com.
    You can read your daily newspaper without taking a walk to the driveway.
    Look back at yesterday's newspaper, or issues from months ago with our archive feature.
    Call circulation at 432-337-7314 to sign up today.