Barbershop to Celebrate 80 Years

Written by Neil Farrell

Neil has been a journalist covering the Estero Bay Area for over 27 years. He’s won numerous journalism awards in several different categories over his career.

December 2, 2021

Mike’s Barbershop in Morro Bay will celebrate its 80th Anniversary on Sunday Dec. 12 with a private party for customers, friends and supporters. Pictured here standing left to right are: barbers Tony Longarini and Morgan Monteros and shop owner, Jon Elliot (with an unidentified customer in the chair).
Photo by Neil Farrell

It’s the longest continuously run business in Morro Bay having opened the day before the sneak attack on Pearl Harbor and in December, Mike’s barbershop will celebrate its 80th Anniversary.

Jon Elliot, who bought Mike’s Barbershop, located at 280 Morro Bay Blvd., in May 2012, is only the third owner of the iconic, little, shop in a box, said they would celebrate the shop’s long history and untold number of customers with a private party set for Sunday, Dec. 12 from noon-8 p.m. in the parking lot he shares with Pizza Port, which will be catering the party.

The party is free but he asks that people go to his website at: Mikesbarbershop.com or on Facebook at: www.facebook.com/mikesbarbershop805, or Instagram: @mikes.barber.shop and sign up for a ticket to be able to attend.
He said there would be several bands playing music — The Murder Hornets, and Lyle Fuller Band for sure, but he said they may have others play too.

The party, he said, is primarily for his customers, friends and supporters but anyone can go online to get a ticket.
The party will be a breath of air after what has been a tumultuous year-and-a-half for Elliot. Before the coronavirus pandemic, Elliot had grown his business into four shops — a North Main Street location, one in Downtown SLO and another in Pismo Beach, he explained.

The SLO shop closed when the state shuttered “non-essential” businesses, of which barber shops were included, and he’d just weeks before that, sold the Pismo Beach shop. He was working too many long hours and had to make some changes. He’d already agreed to sell the North Main shop — named Tiny Mike’s — but the pandemic forced those folks to give it back.

The SLO shop was in a building that had a popular restaurant — Barrel House Brewing — on Chorro Street and when the state eased up the restrictions somewhat after a couple of months, the restaurant did some math and decided it needed the barbershop’s space to maximize its reopening, he explained. So that shop was closed all together.
So now he’s down to just the two Morro Bay shops, which keeps him pretty busy, alternating where he sets up to cut hair. But there’s no more working double shifts.

He took the time off to do some remodeling in the original Mike’s location, adding in a TV that runs a loop of historic photos for his customers to enjoy. He’s added some traditional barber’s poles and interior décor — historical photos and antique fishing rods among other touches. The new décor fits nicely with the concept of an old-time barbershop.

The virus business restrictions also led to them switch to appointments-only scheduling, a move he said has helped with the business’ overall efficiency and helped him to better manage his time (make appointments online or call them (805-772-9262) to get an appointment.

It’s a big change from the way the shop had been run since Lindell Johnson opened the barbershop on Dec. 6, 1941. A young local kid, Mike Dominguez, who became a barber in 1960, started working for Johnson that same year.
Dominguez bought Johnson out in 1967 and he ran the shop until retirement in 2012, when he sold the shop to Elliot. Dominguez owned Mike’s Barbershop for 52 years.

So in 80 years now, there have been only three owners, a remarkable record of longevity and a testament to how hard work leads to success.

Dominguez’ and his wife Dolores, were named Morro Bay Living Treasures in 2012. Dolores worked at Village Cleaners for decades and retired along with her husband.

The barbershop has been a needy mistress. “The shop never closed,” said Elliot, “except for hunting and fishing trips.”

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