Elmwood Park barber left corporate world behind
Lionel Martinez, 30, got tired of bad haircuts -- for himself and his two sons -- so so he took matters into his own hands and went to school to become a barber. Now, he's co-owner of a barber shop in Elmwood Park. | David Pollard~Sun-Times Media
Updated: February 4, 2013 6:26AM
ELMWOOD PARK — Lionel Martinez grew tired of taking his two sons to the barbershop only to leave unhappy with how they looked.
So he took matters into his own hands, went to barber school and became a licensed barber.
On top of that, he gave up his career in corporate America and went into business with his partner, opening up Traditional Barber Shop, 7707 W. Fullerton Ave.
Martinez has been cutting hair for about a year and a half, but so far he is satisfied with how things have been going. He prides himself on being properly educated in his field and sticking to traditional methods of cutting hair and giving shaves.
“Nine out of 10 of the barbers didn’t go to school,” he said. “All they care about is putting a design on your head.”
Frank Russo, 17, of Elmwood Park left the shop satisfied Dec. 27.
“I’ll be back,” he said.
Martinez said now his sons get decent haircuts, too. He has a daughter, but leaves her hair to other professionals.
He admits he also couldn’t find a good barber for himself until he became a barber. Now, he’ll either cut his own hair or, more likely, have his fellow barber and business partner cut it.
“At least until I go bald,” he said. “My brother went bald.”
He believes he may be next, but until then he his happy with his new career choice.
Q: What do you like about being a barber?
A: “Certainly not the pay, but most of all meeting everybody, young, old and in between.”
Q: What kind of work did you do before?
A: “I use to be a banker for Chase. I got tired of corporate America.”
Q: What are your favorite sports?
A: “Right now it’s the Bulls and Bears. When baseball season comes it’s the Cubs.”
Q: What’s your favorite food?
A: “It used to be Mexican. I got spoiled out here (Elmwood Park) because the Italian beef and pizza is better.”