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Popular Barbers Bring ‘Empire’ to Hercules

When he was a child, Drew DeGuzman said his parents couldn’t always afford to get his hair cut.“So, when I got a little older into my teens, I bought a cheap pair of clippers and started cutting my own hair and found out I had a real gift for it,” said DeGuzman, an Antioch native and 2004 graduate of De La Salle High School in Concord. DeGuzman started cutting his classmates’ hair, and also his Dad’s and brother’s. He cut hair on the weekends, and it was clear to him that this wasn’t just a hobby, but a career.

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Drew DeGuzman cuts a child’s hair. Photo courtesy of Empire Barbershop.
Drew DeGuzman cuts a child’s hair. Photo courtesy of Empire Barbershop.

By Mike Kinney

When he was a child, Drew DeGuzman said his parents couldn’t always afford to get his hair cut.

“So, when I got a little older into my teens, I bought a cheap pair of clippers and started cutting my own hair and found out I had a real gift for it,” said DeGuzman, an Antioch native and 2004 graduate of De La Salle High School in Concord.

DeGuzman started cutting his classmates’ hair, and also his Dad’s and brother’s. He cut hair on the weekends, and it was clear to him that this wasn’t just a hobby, but a career.

In December 2020, DeGuzman, then 36 years old, alongside Richmond native Christian Chavez, 31, opened the Empire Barber Shop at 3700 San Pablo Ave. in Hercules. The pair had previously worked since 2015 at the Empire location inside the Sunvalley Shopping Center in Concord before launching the Hercules site. The swift popularity of Empire’s new location in West County is connected to a longtime passion for craft.

“It feels really good to know that the community has embraced us, and they see the value that we bring,” DeGuzman said. “It feels great to see hard work pay off.”

Drew DeGuzman poses in front of his workstation. Photo courtesy of Empire Barbershop.

Drew DeGuzman poses in front of his workstation. Photo courtesy of Empire Barbershop.

Empire partner Christian Chavez got his start at the shop where he once got his hair cut. Photo courtesy of Empire Barbershop.

Empire partner Christian Chavez got his start at the shop where he once got his hair cut. Photo courtesy of Empire Barbershop.

Empire barbers keep up with trends and current styles for men’s grooming. Photo courtesy of Empire Barbershop.

Empire barbers keep up with trends and current styles for men’s grooming. Photo courtesy of Empire Barbershop.

Hard work at a young age is how Chavez found his calling. At that time, he’d get his haircuts at Adriana’s Beauty Salon in San Pablo, “right next to McDonald’s,” he said.

Chavez attended Leadership Public Schools in Richmond, which provided students a week where they could intern at a business. Adriana’s Beauty Salon hired him on as an intern to take on walk-ins. Once he got a hold of his own clippers, he started providing haircuts to his family.

“I just saw the clippers waving at me all the time,” he said. “I knew my calling was to become a professional barber and stylist.”

Empire specializes in modern men’s grooming and precision haircutting and styling. The shop additionally “stays true to our foundation in traditional barbering with an emphasis on classic hot towel shaves and service,” said DeGuzman.

The key to balancing a diversity of services with top-notch craft is ongoing education, he added.

“We have created a culture here where we want to continue to learn and seek new techniques and learn how to execute these evolving styles,” he said.

DeGuzman added, “We value professionalism and want the public to really feel welcome and respected when entering our shops.”

It’s not all work, no play for DeGuzman and Chavez.

“We are family guys,” DeGuzman said. “So we really enjoy spending time with our family and friends. “From taking advantage of the hiking trails on the waterfront, movies at the park, sporting events, and exploring all the awesome food spots our community has to offer.”

The pair also love to shop and eat locally, including at the nearby Target and Trader Joe’s, Pear Street Bistro, Leila by the Bay, Powder Keg, and “of course our neighbors at Sharetea and Kinder’s,” said DeGuzman.

Empire Barber Shop opens Monday-Friday from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m., and Saturday from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. For more information, contact (510) 243-5396.

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Business

Newsom Admin Takes Steps to Stabilize California’s Troubled Insurance Market

As growing numbers of Insurance companies announce plans to exit California’s insurance market — or cancel customers’ policies — Gov. Gavin Newsom says his administration is taking steps to reverse the trend. Speaking during a news briefing on May 31, Newsom highlighted the plan, which was unveiled as part of a trailer bill on May 28.

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By California Black Media

As growing numbers of Insurance companies announce plans to exit California’s insurance market — or cancel customers’ policies — Gov. Gavin Newsom says his administration is taking steps to reverse the trend. Speaking during a news briefing on May 31, Newsom highlighted the plan, which was unveiled as part of a trailer bill on May 28.

Newsom said the proposal speeds up approvals for rate increases and addresses rising costs resulting from incidents like wildfires. Newsom said, under his plan, the Department of Insurance will be required to decide and respond to rate increase requests within 120 days. The plan also calls for streamlining the process for filing for increases; builds in two 330-deay extensions for finalizing rate changes; and provides room for insurers to appeal decisions.

“We need to stabilize this market,” Newsom said. “We need to send the right signals.

Proponents, mainly insurance industry representatives like the Personal Insurance Federation of California, are praising the Governor’s actions while consumer advocates warn that the plan is a threat to public intervention rights California’s Prop 103, a 1988 state law adopted to protect state residents from “arbitrary insurance rates and practices.”

Insurance Commissioner Ricardo Lara thanked Newsom for backing his office’s plan.

“To safeguard the integrity of the insurance market – composed of consumers, homeowners, and business owners – we must fix a system suffering from decades of deferral and delay,” said Lara in a statement. “This measure is one of several parts of a comprehensive plan to enact long-overdue regulatory reforms. The Legislature can do its part to support my reforms by giving this proposal a fair and full consideration, including public input. By enacting this important part of our strategy in statute, the Legislature can help us meet the urgency of the moment.

Lara is working on a longer-term strategy to shore up the insurance market that is expected to be released in December.

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Oakland Post: Week of June 5 – 11, 2024

The printed Weekly Edition of the Oakland Post: Week of June 5 – 11, 2024

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New Car Reviews and Important Auto News

Get reviews of the latest new press cars driven and we update you on the most recent auto news of interest. Join our panel of auto influencers.
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