Monthly Archives: January 2013

Surviving Pacific: Thee Barber Shop

Construction On Pacific Avenue

Businesses on Pacific Ave are not having an easy time keeping things going during construction.

Downtown Tacoma has seen better days. Walk any given block and you’ll find at least a handful of empty storefronts. This is even more apparent on Pacific Avenue. Currently there is a major construction project underway on parts of Pacific Avenue. According to the city website this project is for ‘beautification’ and to install ‘innovative stormwater improvements to improve the business opportunities and livability of Downtown’s core street.’

That’s all well and good and hopefully the project will be every bit as successful as they say it’s going to be when they complete the work at the end of this year. The question is, will any of the businesses that are there now survive until then?

I’m going to take a look at some of the businesses in this construction area over the next few months and see how they’re doing and what they’re doing to get by.

Pete Lira, owner of Thee Barber Shop is mentoring aspiring haircutters

Pete Lira, owner of Thee Barber Shop is mentoring aspiring hair cutters. He’s also offering night classes.

First up is Pete Lira, owner of the Thee Barber Shop just a couple doors from the corner of South 9th and Pacific.

I’ve written about him before. He’s been my barber for the last eight years and he’s been cutting hair forty-seven.

While the construction hasn’t stopped his regular customers from coming in, it has made business a bit more difficult. I discovered Pete because Pete was standing outside one day and talked to a friend of mine as she passed by. Later when I happened to ask if she knew a barber, she said she did. Such an encounter is near impossible with the current construction.

What is Pete doing to help his business? Something he’s done before and enjoys doing: He’s offering to mentor those getting into the hair cutting profession. With almost half a century of experience, Pete has a lot of wisdom to impart. He’s an old school barber who believes in precision and classic training.

If you’re interested in being mentored by a champion barber or if you just find yourself in need of a decent haircut, give Pete a call at 253-272-2663.

– Jack Cameron

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First Tacoma Homicide of 2013: Tyliah Young

Tyliah YoungIt’s been brutally cold lately in Tacoma. The other night I walked from my house to my friend’s without a coat. His place is just four houses away. I was so cold when I got there that I stayed for an hour just to warm up. A little over two miles away on Saturday morning, 23-year-old Tyliah Young was found in an alleyway near S. 12th and Ainsworth. Her body was frozen. There was frozen blood present causing police to believe it was not the elements that killed her. Today the medical examiner released her cause of death as multiple gunshots to the head.

Tyliah was from New York and had talked of going back there where she had family. Friends and family say she was a happy person. She had two young daughters.

Some people will say that a homicide on Tacoma’s Hilltop is nothing new. They will say that it’s an area famous for violent crime. And they’re right about that much. However, Hilltop’s reputation is far worse than the reality. In the years since the gang and crime filled days of the early 1990s, Hilltop has emerged as a better neighborhood full of new businesses and an active community. As a life-long citizen of Tacoma, there was a time when I wouldn’t even drive in Hilltop at night. Now, I feel safe walking those same streets.

Tacoma’s first homicide of 2013 is tragic and here’s hoping it’s one of the few this year. As always, the comments section is reserved for friends and family if they want to share thoughts or stories about Tyliah for others to read. I’m sorry for your loss.

Crime Stoppers is offering a $1,000 reward for information leading to the arrest of the person responsible for Tyliah’s murder. http://www.tpcrimestoppers.com/case.php?id=555

–          Jack Cameron