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Barbershop Gets the Loyal Treatment

Service, camaraderie and familiar faces keep customers returning to Danny's, which has been around since 1967.


Wedged between a taekwondo studio and an Asian hairstyling shop in a weathered strip mall, Danny's Barbershop in Anaheim could easily be bypassed by patrons.

But they don't. They like the service too much.

"I would never go anywhere else," said Max Schulman, 65, of Buena Park.

Schulman says a trip to the barber is like going to the doctor. He wants a familiar face who understands his needs. He gets that at Danny's, where Danny Garcia has cut his hair since 1967. "You don't have to explain how you want your hair cut," Schulman said.

Danny Cuevas Sr. opened Danny's Barbershop in 1967 at Knott and Lincoln avenues after switching from foundry work to cutting hair because of an accident that left him with one leg. His son Danny Cuevas Jr., 57, joined him in 1970, and the two worked side by side until the elder Cuevas died in 1994.

Danny Cuevas Jr. says he misses his dad. But since his death he's surrounded himself with old friends Garcia, 62, and Angel Mata, 70, who previously had shops of their own, and whose customers followed them to Danny's. Combined, the three have 127 years of experience. More recently, Cuevas' stepdaughter, Cyndi Shattler, 30, joined the group, adding a new and previously forbidden dimension to the shop: women's hair.

Most customers cite the dependability of the barbers when asked about why they come to Danny's. The three men ask customers few questions because they've known many for years or even decades. Instead, they cut, shave and trim. They talk or stay quiet, depending on how they read their customers' moods.

"I can walk in, fall asleep, wake up and my hair's been cut the way it's always been cut for the last 10 years," said Ty Cobb III of Buena Park, who says he's the great-great-great-grandson of the baseball great.

Other customers say they appreciate the atmosphere. They like the spartan look of the shop with the three black vinyl swivel chairs and worn mirrors with ornamental borders. The sounds of Ella Fitzgerald, Stan Getz, Bing Crosby or a basketball game provide a backdrop to the bantering that often goes on among barbers and customers.

"It's one of those deals where you go in and feel comfortable," said Dale Galvan, 44, of Buena Park, who has had his hair cut at Danny's for 15 years. "We talk about whatever . . . the Lakers, local crime, whatever. There's a lot of male bonding."

Galvan says he also learns a lot from the three barbers. They talk about the way North County used to look with its abundant orange groves. One barber laments buildings torn down in downtown Anaheim. Galvan says the three know everyone in the area, and if they don't know them directly, they know someone who does.

Though it's not always easy, the three men say they wouldn't want to work any other job. On the busiest days, they're on their feet from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. But they like each other's company, their customers and the satisfaction of a job well done.


Judy Silber can be reached at (714) 966-5988

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