Mike Lopez, 40, father of two, has hit a turning point in his life; he’s quit smoking and goes to CrossFit four times a week. Once a high school wrestling champion, he is now on the verge of earning a black belt in Judo.
While working as a junior chemist for his uncle making hair gel, Mike made a list of the things that make him happy. After being a seafood broker for 13 years, “not smelling like fish anymore,” was an obvious bullet point. More importantly, however, is how this list prompted Mike to pursue a career as a professional barber.
“On the list I included having a career that no one can ever take away from me, you know? Something that I can do anywhere; whether I’m at a shop, at someone’s house, or even on the street.”
Fresh out of Pro Barber College in Westminster, where he met Armando, Mike began working for the Long Beach location of an, at the time, chain barbershop (Greg Krupa was working at the Costa Mesa location for the same company). Mike eventually began splitting his hours between the Long Beach and Costa Mesa shop, which is when he met Greg. Once the Costa Mesa shop closed down, Greg focused his attention on Harbor Barber and offered a position to Mike. It wasn’t long before Mike recommended that they give Armando a shot to earn a chair as well.
“I stopped working at my old shop altogether because Harbor Barber is a much better fit for me. I love helping people and making them happy; I feel like I’ve finally achieved job happiness… Now I just have to figure out everything else,” he laughs.
By Nick Mayer