Growing at a fast clip
While most of Edgar Bucio’s customers think he’s a cut above the rest, now the young barber has the trophy to prove it.
The Quincy man recently took home top honors in the 2015 Pacific Northwest Barber Battle, held last month in Everett. At the battle, barbers from across the state competed in six different categories for trophies and prizes.
Bucio, who owns Thee Elite Barbershop in East Wenatchee, took home the first-place trophy in the “low fade with a beard” competition. One of the more difficult hairstyles to do, the low fade is a trendy but precise cut.
Bucio and the other 30 barbers competing in his category had an hour to complete the hairstyle. Each was charged with bringing a model. (Alex Sanchez of Quincy stepped up as a model for Bucio.) The barbers clipped and cut alongside each other while an audience looked on. Judging the competition were celebrities in the barbering world, including barbers for both the Seattle Seahawks and Mariners.
Bucio said he was confident he would do well but he admits his adrenaline was pumping in the heat of the competition.
“I was really nervous,” he said. “It was really intense.”
The first-place trophy now sits up front in Bucio’s barbershop in the Wenatchee Valley Mall. A Quincy resident since the age of 12, the 24-year-old Bucio is an up-and-coming barber and businessman. He opened Thee Elite Barbershop in May 2014 in a small space at the south end of the mall. Just over a year later, he moved the business to the north end of the mall because he needed more space.
Bucio has built himself a dedicated following. Most of his clientele travel from Quincy. He’s also pulling in more Wenatchee people as well as clients from Moses Lake, Chelan and even the Tri-Cities. Some of his customers are in his chair every four days.
“All day, we’re busy,” Bucio said.
A graduate of Char-Glo School of Beauty in Moses Lake, Bucio started his career working chairs in different salons. However, he quickly decided to open his own shop. Bucio now is looking at expanding his business to the Tri-Cities next year. He’s even looking to host a local barber battle in the future.
Barbering is a serious business, said Bucio, who started cutting hair in middle school. He used to cut his friends’ hair from his parents’ garage.
And Bucio is dedicated to the profession. He’s so dedicated, in fact, that when his girlfriend, Lily Blancas of Quincy, was in the hospital in Moses Lake having their baby, Bucio made a quick trip to Wenatchee to pick up the keys to his new shop, Blancas joked.
“I’m really proud of him,” she said of Bucio’s success.
Being a barber today means working hard to stay on top of trends, Bucio said. One trend he’s seeing lately means Bucio is learning to cater to a different crowd – women. About 20 percent of his clients are women, he said. Nearly all of them ask Bucio to cut intricate designs into their hair, he said.
As a professional barber, it’s his goal to stay humble and treat all his customers like friends, Bucio added.
“He’s the only barber who I trust,” said Naser Saimeh of Wenatchee, who is in Bucio’s chair at least once a week. “This guy knows how to do it.”
— By Jill FitzSimmons, email@example.com