By KEVIN SEABROOK
A high top fade is one of the hardest haircuts to give someone. Walking through the doors of the barbershop and smelling the fumes of hairspray and hearing the clippers churn on others head was a priceless moment.
There were about 5 barbers who were cutting hair upon my arrival, there were two sets of chairs facing each other on both sides and the final chair was in the back.
That chair in the back belonged to Francisco Cardenas, 22, owner of the local barbershop MVB located in Roselle, NJ. “Barber shops are not just a place to get haircuts, but it is a place where people come together,” said Cardenas
Who would of thought a young latino male from a small town in New Jersey would go from working part time to overcoming certain barriers to now owning that very own barbershop.
Not only does Cardenas give haircuts but he also gives back to the community in many ways. This past summer Cardenas was awarded a proclamation from the borough of Roselle for the back to school block party.
Cardenas’ role in the community is prominent. He runs plenty of events to give back to younger kids and the community, such as back to school block parties, where he along with other dominant role models in the community, allow parents and kids to have fun, offering free food, free school supplies and discounted haircuts.
“I love seeing the look on kids and adult faces after they leave my shop with a respectable hair style,” said Cardenas.
Cardenas has come a long way from attending Abraham Clark High School to not going to college and becoming a owner of a business.
“I don’t want kids to think that not going to college is cool”, said Cardenas.
Owning My Own
It all started back in 2008 when Cardenas realized that he gained a passion for cutting hair. He started to cut hair part time at a local barber shop a few miles away from his residence. Five days out off the week he would go around 3 o’clock after school to cut hair.
“It started with just cutting a couple of my friend’s hair, then next thing I knew I had gained an entire cliental in Roselle,”Cardenas said”.
Once people started to find out how good of a barber he was, Cardenas then had to expand his part time of five days a week to six sometimes seven days a week to attend to cutting others hair.
As time went on, due to difficult complications with the previous owner the barbershop once named Precise was on the verge of shutting down.
“Without having a college degree I was limited and would have been forced to work somewhere for a living I didn’t want to”, said Cardenas.
In 2011, Cardenas came up with a master plan to continue to build the barbershop business and do it with the people he started with. Cardenas knew one day that he would own his own barbershop but he didn’t think it would happen this soon.
“With being a minority, it was tough to gain credibility to the point where it was harder on me to fulfill this dream of mine,” said Cardenas.
Cisco Love The Kids
Having a great clientele has really helped Cardenas. He spent his earlier years cutting dominant models from the community such as Mayor Jesse Holley of Roselle, a couple of NFL players who helped fund him to start up on his own.
“I want kids to know that there is always another option,” Cardenas said. “If you fail at one thing, who goes to say the next way won’t turn up better for you.”
Talk about cutting it close.
Cardenas was able to assemble a little over 600 fidgety
schoolchildren, 50 impatient moms, 10 corporate sponsors, a couple
celebrity entertainers and five harried barbers Thursday to launch a
full day haircut marathon.
Cardenas plays an important role in the community of Roselle. He has
been a leader in the community for about five years. “I just love
cutting hair and seeing the expressions on people’s faces when they
get a good cut,” said Cardenas
Last summer, Cardenas started to offer free school
supplies and discounted back-to-school haircuts for youngsters in the
town’s annual block party.
“If kids return to class looking good, they will do good,” Cardenas said.
He had his work cut out for him on that day, however.
This year’s end-of-summer block party is the largest that Cardenas has
done. His barbers spent five hours Thursday at the local Recreation
“I always believe it’s going to work,” said Cardenas, He mentioned even though he doesn’t have a college education he feels as though he has a lot of knowledge to teach younger kids on going on the right path. He also explained that he wants the younger kids to learn how important it is to have both book
and street smarts. He has worked to keep inner-city youths from becoming dropouts.
“This is a good way of motivating kids to go back to school. We try to
make an exciting beginning for the school year. Most school district
here seems to have a problem motivating kids.”
Along with the discounted haircuts, youngsters received heavy-duty
book bags, T-shirts, personal hygiene items, school supplies and
compact discs–items worth about $50, said officials for the
Stylish “fade cuts” were the most popular trim ordered by the boys who lined up.
Fifth-grader Mike Trotter, 10, specified a “high-top fade” from barber
Carlos Barrios. Trotter told Barrios that he must go to school with a
better appearance than last year. Barrios hooked Trotter up, giving
him one of the best high top fades he has ever came across. In the
other seat right over from each other was a seventh-grader
Lavertis Smith, 12, ordered up a “fade” from barber Joshua Mendez. He
told the barber that this was one of the best hairstyles he had
It was to the point where you looked at the children and
already knew where they got their cuts from In about six minutes,
Barrios and Mendez were finished and Mike and Lavertis were admiring
their respective looks.
Others were in line to collect their book bag and school supplies and
were kicking themselves for not getting haircuts early.
As they waited their turn, youngsters heard a couple of NFL players
from the town that were coming to support the movement. Jesse Holly WR
for the Dallas Cowboys reminded the young kids that “you’ve got to
learn to read and write if you’re going to make it anywhere in life.”
For Cardenas inspiring self-confidence was the key. He preached about
how you do need school and a degree in order to be successful in life.
“The best thing about my job is I get to make people feel good,” he said.
“I could go around and pass out business cards all day, but really, at
the end of the day, this is my business card,” Cardenas said.
“When I first started, I told the football coach, ‘I’m going to help
you guys get better” said Cardenas.“What player wants to come here if
there’s no real barbershop? And how’re they going to play their best
if they don’t feel their best?”
“Look good, play good,” coach Cheese says from his seat.
Cardenas also emphasizes community outreach and responsibility.
“It’s important for me being categorized under a Hispanic heritage in
a suburban community to set a positive example,” he said.
Cardenas opens his shop up to high school boys who work there,
sweeping floors and other manual labor tasks.
“It keeps them out of trouble,” Cardenas said. “Who knows? If they
keep doing this, they might be barbers one day with their own
Barbershops have long been a place where community and commerce intersect.
Mechanical engineering sophomore Mike Holder waits to get his hair cut.
“This barbershop is about community,” Holder said