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Iconic Round Rock Barber Shop To Close Its Doors
An iconic Round Rock business is being forced to close its doors after becoming a casualty of the downtown improvement project.
Ben's Barber Shop is a small barber shop where people come and get their hair cut after work. They're open just three days a week but Friday night the owner will close down to make room for a parking lot.
Ben Salazar has cut and clipped for more than 50 years. "My oldest brother was a barber, so I wanted follow in his footsteps," he says.
In 1958, at the age of 18, Salazar started barber school. Two years later he opened his own barber shop on East Liberty Avenue in Round Rock. A few years later, his brother-in-law, Sebastian Zamarripa, started working with him. For Round Rock it became more than just a place to get a clean shave.
Salazar says, "some would get a haircut and others would just come to talk, politics or whatever subject came up, they would spend an hour there and they would go home." He says they would talk about their families, their jobs and of course politics for hours and everybody had different opinions.
Now, after 53 years, Salazar is being forced to close his doors. The owner of the land he leases is selling the property to the city, and in its place the City of Round Rock plans to build a parking lot.
"One of the issues we're having right now, one of the immediate issues is parking because the activity is growing rapidly, especially on weekend evenings we got a real parking problem," says Round Rock Transportation Director Garry Hudder.
The construction is part of the $60 million downtown improvement project. The city is now starting phase four and five on the west side.
While Salazar is saying goodbye to the business he started decades ago, he's not upset. He says, "Round Rock has to keep going forward, we can't stop it you know and I want it to go forward."
"I went in with a smile and I'm going out with a smile, no hard feelings at all." Salazar says what's important is the memories he'll take with him. "I'm taking all of them, all of them, I'm taking all the memories with me."
By Lydia Pantazes