EYEWITNESS NEWS (WBRE/WYOU) — A Hispanic owned barbershop is dedicated to not only clean cuts but training those who hold the scissors.

Behind the sounds of buzzes and snips are the hands of Jose Rivera and his team of barbers.

Rivera who is from New York and proud of his Puerto Rican heritage, opened N.Y.O Barbershop in Wilkes-Barre post-pandemic when the world began to come back to life, but unfortunately, most local barber schools did not.

“You have a place where a lot of people felt out of place, there really weren’t any barber schools around, and I wanted to take people who really wanted to learn how to cut hair and show them and teach them,” said Rivera.

Rivera now welcomes future barbers in his apprentice program where he teaches them everything from clips to cash.

“Pretty much started from scratch. I have two or three guys here that have their license and were barbers already, but we taught everybody else how to cut hair and how to make it into a business,” explained Rivera.

Although the lack of barber schools in the area can be discouraging, Rivera says the hands-on experience at the shop is something you can’t learn from the books.

“Learning in a barber shop is a lot better than learning in school because you get to do everything hands-on. You may have people who want certain styles or certain types of cuts, and you’re learning from experience. Not just from one person, you have several people here that have been doing it for a long time,” continued Rivera.

Part of the learning experience at the barbershop is the culture behind the cuts.

“A barbershop is actually kind of like a pillar for a lot of Latinos too, you know, we come here and everybody it’s like a family,” says Rivera.

The N.Y.O family including barber Omar Bacquez who is Mexican, is proud to be a part of all that the shop stands for.

“I love cutting hair and being a barber, I love that. Working in this shop, it’s like family. You can see the place, it’s very nice so I love to be here,” said Bacquez.

“Culture is something that we follow no matter where we go. Let’s say we’re born in Puerto Rico or if you were born in another country in South America, you would take that heritage with you,” added Rivera.