Way down in the south end of our county, nestled next to the border of Mexico, sits the forgotten coastal town of Imperial Beach . For decades, most San Diegans and tourists alike have avoided it because of polluted beaches or its out-of-the-way location.
People living in this environment, especially in the '80s and '90s, were isolated from the wealth and prosperity of their central and north county counterparts. Jobs were hard to come by and opportunities were far and few between. The people of I.B. work hard for what they have and take pride in their little town. After all, they have the last uncrowded and affordable stretch of coastline in California all to themselves.
Brent Ferris is one of those residents. The now 33-year-old Ferris recounts years of surfing with just a few friends at his local beaches before the town started to fix up the area around the pier. Instead of longing for the old days, Ferris appreciates how the sleepy little town is starting to change for the better.
Ferris is the owner of Good Times Barbershop. The small shop sits behind a modest storefront just a block from the Imperial Beach Pier.
When I entered the shop, I was greeted with smiles from the tattooed owner and his co-workers. I was immediately offered a beer and invited into the conversation. The vibe is friendly and welcoming and it reminded me of spending time in an old surf shop where customers share funny stories and the people who are waiting around chuckle along.
Original art works on the shop walls include photos, surfboards and skateboards. The décor reflects Ferris' attitude and easygoing nature perfectly.
I asked Ferris why he decided to open his own business. He said one afternoon a question was posed that would take him down a new path entirely.
Good Times Barbershop
Hours: 8 a.m. to 7 p.m.
Address: 245 Palm Ave., Imperial Beach
Phone: (619) 575-4562
Online: Instagram @goodtimesbarbershopsd
"Originally, my barber at the time was telling me that he was going to open a new shop and was going to need some people to work there. He then asked me to go to barber school," he said.
Ferris laughed and didn't really consider it right away.
"Weeks later, I went to get a hair cut, showed up early and watched what he was doing. How he interacted with the clients and how fun it looked really grabbed my interest. Three weeks after that I was starting my first day of barber school."
After a successful apprenticeship, Ferris decided to open his own shop and this past October he celebrated his anniversary.
Does he have any interest in branching out and perhaps opening another location?
"Not really," he said. "I believe smaller is better when it comes to quality."
That type of mentality is pervasive in the past few years as people once again put an emphasis on handcrafted products and craftsmanship. That's exactly what you will find in the little barbershop in Imperial Beach.