A barber by day, mortician by night: This Huntington Beach shop owner likes working with bodies, both dead and alive

When one actions in to the Harbor Barber barbershop in Huntington Beach, it’s a little enjoy stepping from time.

The walls are covered along with all of manner of old-timey art, along along with vintage leather strops for sharpening razors. There’s a barber pole in a corner. The air is redolent along with the smell of lavender-scented hot towels. The clickety-click of scissors provides a backdrop to the old-school music.

It is as authentic an American barbershop as you could find.

But after that there’s the guy in the corner – a skeleton in a chair along with an Elvis pompadour and handlebar mustache. And that tells you, not all of in the shop is necessarily just what you think.

Greg Krupa, 38, the proprietor of the shop, has actually an interesting second job. As soon as not clipping hair and shaving the living, he performs the very same solutions on-call for the dead as a licensed embalmer and mortician.

“I constantly do a little trimming, so my cases look much better compared to anybody else,” Krupa says.

Krupa has actually been a mortician for 18 years and a barber for five. Despite the fact that he celebrated a year as the owner of the shop in May, he is likewise kept hectic caring for the calls for of the dead. It’s job he can’t appear to leave behind or say no to.

Even after all of these years, Krupa takes pride in his work, providing just what solace he can easily from making a deceased loved one look their best.

“I’ll even shine their shoes, though you may never ever see them,” he said.

On this day, Krupa is tired after a long night of work.

“I’m dragging today,” the owner of Harbor Barber in Huntington Beach says as he strolls over from his station.

After leaving the barbershop, he ready the physique of a 12-year-old boy for a funeral. To protect the youngster and family’s privacy, he doesn’t to go in to details regarding the boy’s death.

Krupa met his wife of four years, Jenna, through mortuary work. The 2 have actually occasional “date nights,” As soon as they will certainly have actually a nice dinner, after that go and listen to music – while functioning on the dearly departed at a regional mortuary.

The Long Beach resident isn’t sure specifically just what initial drew your man to seek the dead. Yet the self-described rebel liked something regarding the unusual occupation.

“I was enjoy anybody else along with a morbid curiosity. It was type of something that was shunned,” he said.

He undoubtedly does bear in mind the initial day cadavers were wheeled in to the lab at Cypress College, which was very considerably the point As soon as students knew if they were reduce out for the work. “It was like, ‘Wow, holy (cow), there’s a dead body,” Krupa said. “They were John Does from the morgue and usually not in the very best shape.”

Although Krupa still likes functioning along with bodies, the intra-office politics of the living wore on him. Also, the changing nature of the company and the turn toward corporatization turned your man off and toward one more line of work. So regarding eight years ago, he began looking in to barbering.

Krupa said he has actually constantly saw Americana, adding, “what’s much more American compared to barbering?”

He likewise likes the camaraderie of a barbershop, making relationships along with clients. And he says the job is stable.

“You can’t get hold of a haircut on Amazon,” he says.

When Krupa is asked whether he gets any sort of “Sweeney Todd” references he says, “No, it’s much more enjoy ‘I’m dying to see you,’ that type of thing.”

Krupa is old-school rebel cool from his tatted arm-sleeves to his shaggy beard. He even used to play drums for a rockabilly band. He parks his vintage Harley-Davidson beside the front door of the shop.

His concessions to social media are few. Despite the fact that his shop has actually a website, his wife had to write his bio and he pays a person else to keep it. He doesn’t have actually a Facebook page, and his LinkedIn page is minimal.

The shop’s atmosphere is as traditional as the decor. The guys swap jokes along with each various other and customers. Appointments and walk-ins are taken. It’s not cheap. Costs range from $16 for a butch reduce to $45 for a shave and haircut.

On this day, Kyle Serfis, 24, who’s visiting from upstate brand-new York, actions in for a trim. He says he prefers a traditional barbershop because, “I simply enjoy to get hold of it nice and tight, along with straight edges.”

The camaraderie spreads to the various other barbers, that job on commission at the shop.

“We’re all of finest friends,” says Armando Velasco, 34, of Long Beach, while Krupa is outside. However, once the boss returns, Velasco says loudly, “he’s a slave driver.”

“I adore the feeling here,” said Mike Lopez, 40, of Long Beach. “I’m having a great time every single day.”

For all of the enjoyment Krupa gets from being a barber, he simply can’t tips leaving you along with a little mortician humor.

“I’ll be the last guy to tie your shoes,” he says.

Contact the writer: 714-796-7964gmellen@ocregister.com

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