Kalihi barbershop closes after 40 years, owner ready to retire

Local News

After 40 years of service, one of Oahu’s oldest barbershops is closing its doors.

Thursday was the last day for Bobby’s Barbershop at Kamehameha Shopping Center.

Owner Bobby Yamada says she’s worked hard to support her family, but now that her children are grown, it’s time to retire.

“I think of my retirement as… a new experience for me, because I’ve been working all my years, work and work to support my children, and I’m happy with my progress,” she said.

“We all grew up here,” said Denise Hirano, Yamada’s daughter. “I don’t know anything else other than seeing my mom behind the barber chair, and cutting people’s hair and having great relationships with everyone who comes through the shop.”

When Yamada first opened, she charged $1.50 for adult haircuts, and 50 cents for keiki.

“The barbershop was networking at that time. This was before social networking. The barbershop was always the community hub for everyone to exchange information about friends and family,” Hirano said.

“It is hard to say goodbye. This is stuff we all remember, coming to the barbershop, talking story, telling your problems,” said customer Blackie Kane.

Yamada had a special message for her customers: “I really, really appreciate them to be with me all these years and there’s no way I can get to them to thank them, to make me what I am today. Thank you, thank you to all of them.”

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