WESST Client Profiles
Barelas Rose Barber Shop
Barelas Rose Barber Shop offers precision haircuts to boys and men at a great price. They also run a community fitness facility that provides boxing, wrestling, mixed martial arts, and yoga classes.
Raul has been working since he was 12 years old. First as a paperboy and then at a car wash when he was 14. Starting with jobs that paid cash or tips, the route he took made him want to work harder for himself. When he was 18, he went to barber school and then worked cutting hair and other jobs from age 18-37. A few years ago, Raul was given an opportunity to take over a barbershop; unfortunately, that did not work out, but the experience drove him and his wife Shamrah to open Barelas Rose Barber Shop. They were both nervous but felt the reward outweighed the risk. Shamrah pushed Raul. She believed in the possibilities and convinced Raul to try it for a year, and now five years later, they are running a successful business in the Barelas neighborhood in downtown Albuquerque. Raul’s family has been in Barelas since the 1940’s. His Dad, sister, and close family members still live in Barleas.
Dealing with negative voices, advertising, cash flow, and the COVID-19 pandemic were Raul and Shamrah’s primary challenges. Since the pandemic began, they have lost 50% of their clientele, but they are working through the difficulties. A matched savings program at Fii (Family Independence Initiative) helped with supplies to get them going and other supplies they purchased little by little. Some of their clients work in different fields and are willing to work for them and let them make payments. Their community is also helping with construction on the building itself. Fii brought Raul and Shamrah to Denver to speak and provided additional funds for vending machines. Habitat for Humanity, Fii, Homewise and WESST have all be supporters along the way.
Raul and Shamrah participated in WESST’s Individual Development Account (IDA) program which requires participants to complete intensive financial literacy education prior to implementing a savings program with matching funds. Raul and Shamrah were able to use their matched IDA funds to keep their doors open. In addition, they also met with a WESST business consultant that provided some general business advice.
As with most small businesses throughout the country, the COVID-19 pandemic has made running a business more difficult. Still, they are making a difference in their community and hope to provide additional services, such as jujitsu day and boxing once things begin to return to normal. Raul’s goal is to inspire people to get involved in fitness, he thinks in a perfect world every community would have a community gym. He hopes his family can grow the business around the gym. “Young men and women should have medals around their neck and not around their wrist,” says Raul.
Raul and Shamrah are living the dream of entrepreneurship by putting in long hours, listening to their customers and having the freedom to spend time with their family. The risk and work may be difficult, but with a little help from partners like WESST it all seems to be working out.
Raul and Shamrah Gallegos
Barelas Rose Barber Shop
"The support from the WESST IDA Program helped us keep our doors open and helped us cover expenses when our doors were closed during COVID"