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.
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