Building community through barber shop visits
September 25th is no ordinary day at His and Hers Salon at Southlands. Chris Cruz, 30, prepares for his day of nearly 30 walk-ins, all of whom will be receiving free haircuts in honor of Anthony Vallejos. Vallejos, Aurora-native, passed suddenly last year and would have turned 23-years-old this week. His mother’s family rallied together to celebrate his legacy: by building community through free haircuts.
“Anthony was part of the community at the shop,” said a smiling Cruz. Established in 2011, His and Hers Salon is known for their clean cuts but also serves as a weekly gathering spot for locals to talk sports, life, families, and occasionally joke around. Cruz said Vallejos began visiting him for weekly cuts about five years ago. “We had a good connection,” said Cruz. “I got to see him for 20 to 30 minutes a week, and we really built a bond.”
You don’t have to look hard to find that sense of community. His and Hers Salon is bustling even on a Tuesday morning. Barbers chat and watch sports replays in close detail over the hum of electric clippers and clatter of scissors. A child sits patiently as his hair is cut to perfection. There is a sense of home, belonging, and brotherhood. “Anthony came for the shop,” said Cruz.
Cruz, a Colorado-native, has been a barber in Aurora for 13 years. He’s seen the city blossom into what it is today, but some things will always stay the same. “I’ve always cut around Aurora…it’s my community,” said Cruz.
Like Vallejos, Cruz has a deeply rooted connection to the locals of Aurora.
“Anthony was a great kid,” he said. “I’m glad I get to be here, helping celebrate his birthday and legacy.”