Paco’s has closed down after 57 years. The tiny barber shop on Foothill once fit snugly between Gelson’s and Los Gringos Locos. It had been serving kids, parents, and grandparents longer than anyone could remember. It was one of the coziest places you could walk into: worn down yet comfy leather chairs, old-fashioned equipment, and its legendary treasure chest and register that have been there since Paco’s opening back in 1960 all the way until its recent closing.
Paco’s has been struggling ever since its commercial rivals set up their own shops in the area. Most noticeably are the Sports Clips and Supercuts just a few blocks up the street. Although Paco’s shop has a variety of reasons for closing, without a doubt has the rise of commercial powerhouses played a factor in its decline.
More and more shops along Foothill are either closing down or struggling- to be eventually replaced by their “superior” commercial counterparts. There is no real speculation why. Commercial chain stores offer products that are more updated, advanced, and most of the time, cheaper. The epidemic isn’t just in La Canada. It’s everywhere. In America, more small businesses are closing than ever before.
And as much as consumers complain about the increasing commercialization of their communities, they’re the ones who perpetuate the problem. We think positively of small business, yet do nothing to support them. It should be of no surprise to us that this is happening. For us, it’s easier and more efficient to shop in a place we know and a place we’re more comfortable. Why spend time searching for a particular product when we can find it all in a dumbed-down form in the supermarket, superstore, of other superficial suppliers? By the looks of it, Amazon is our religion.
Sure, the economy is just as Darwinian as the rest of society. It’s a dog-eat-dog world, and if small businesses can’t offer the same diversity of products or advertising as the larger ones, then that’s just the way of things. However, I personally think there is much more to consumption than the mere act of consuming. For me, I enjoy walking down Foothill because it feels cozy; the shops around me wrap me in their history and character.
I don’t know about you, but besides getting my own haircuts there, walking past Paco’s gave me a sense of community warmth. An important part of La Canada history has just left us; I’ll miss them.
Photo from Sophia Arriola-Gibson on Vimeo