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Barbershops changing the mental health and conversations amongst men

”It’s not just a business. It’s more of a therapy session.”
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Posted at 6:26 PM, May 13, 2020
and last updated 2020-05-13 21:24:29-04

PALM BEACH COUNTY, Fla. — The effects of COVID-19 has taken a toll economically and emotionally on a lot of industries and workers. The stories are mounting inside barbershops, previously known as “the spot” or “the hub” in some communities. In South Florida, more barbershops are changing the health, culture, and conversations amongst customers, especially men.

At Blurryfades in Royal Palm Beach, conversation flows like electricity. Topics range from cars to money, sports, mental health, finances, and music.

”You can be that person for him not to take his life. Or for him not to cheat on his wife,” said Joe Monero, Blurryfades barber.

The main thing is just being the pillar that barbershops have always been,” added Andrew Voulgarakis, Blurryfades shop manager. “We’re an open home and open place for people to always feel comfortable.”

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But due to Florida’s Phase One safety protocols, customers wait in their vehicles, not indoors. And noticeably the conversations inside have evolved.

“We have a lot of guys that come in and just open up to us and talk about how they lost their jobs and now they’re not able to provide for their families,” said Mark Marrero, Blurryfades owner. “We also touch a lot of topics on men’s mental health.”

In fact, Marrero who owns three barbershops in Palm Beach County says a quarter of his barbers now only work part-time, after being forced to take COVID-proof jobs when non-essential businesses closed in early April. He said the results are barbers who can better relate to their client base and a sign that barbershops are adapting to the times. And addressing men’s health from the inside and out.

”It’s not just a business. It’s more of a therapy session,” said Esco Garcia, Blurryfades barber.

”Whether or not you want a cut - or a talk, you’re more than welcome to come here,” Marrero added.