By Cary Shuman
Roosters Men’s Grooming Center has been in operation for more that two-and-half years at Market Street, an open-air lifestyle center in Lynnfield that features clothing stores, restaurants, a ten-pin bowling establishment, and much more.
Lynn resident Ramon Santana, 27, has worked at Roosters for 18 months, taking an unconventional route to his new profession and the upscale barbershop.
“I grew up in the Dominican Republic and came to the United States about seven years ago,” said Santana, who has a 7-year-old daughter, Yelena. “I was a pharmacist in my country and then I decided to come to the United States.
Upon his arrival here, he enrolled at the New England Hair Academy in Malden and received his Master’s Barber’s license after studying for two years.
Santana worked at a barbershop in Lynn before walking in to Roosters and applying for a position. “I just liked the atmosphere and the classic barbershop feel when I walked in here,” said Santana.
He now shares the managerial duties with Louis McNulty at the franchise (there are 75 Roosters across the country) that is owned by Mike Lane.
“It’s awesome. I love the people here. It’s a beautiful barbershop. You meet new people every day. It’s a fun job and Mike is a great boss,” said Santana, who also visits local senior centers and gives haircuts.
He said while he enjoyed being a pharmacist, he’s found his true calling in hairstyling. “I enjoy every day.”
McNulty said that Santana’s talents are drawing scores of repeat customers.
“Ramon is fantastic – he’s very versatile in all of his haircuts,” said McNulty. “He’s very professional and very clean and he makes sure he takes care of his customers. He provides great service.”
Lane is also fan of Santana’s skills, professional manner, and personality.
“I can’t say enough about Ramon,” said Lane. “What sets Ramon apart is his skill level – his customer service is unbelievable and he has an incredible work ethic. And once they sit in Ramon’s chair, they’ll never go to another barber.
“The real key is finding good barbers and with Ramon and Louis, I feel fortunate. You need people who are professional and personal. It looks easy but it’s not. It takes a lot of practice.”
Lane grew up in Chelmsford and is a graduate of Bates College. He spent most of his career in the pharmaceutical industry before opening Roosters as his first business venture. He said the business is doing very well after weathering a tough winter of 2015 that saw a succession of major snowstorms.
“It’s been great so far,” said Lane. “This is an upscale barbershop, a nice man-cave – we have eight chairs and on a busy Saturday we have five or six chairs going at once,” said Lane. “We have seven barbers, two receptionists, and two great managers in Ramon and Luis. They’re running the show. They deserve all the credit.”
Lane said the list of services includes all haircutting services and a seven-step shave, a very relaxing hot towel shave – anything to do with cutting hair, that’s what we do. A gentleman will spend an hour in the chair with a cut and a shave. Just like a lady would go to a salon, this is a men’s high-end barbershop. It’s a great experience for men.”
And Ramon Santana is one of the barbers responsible for helping Roosters widen its popularity.
“I welcome Lynn people to come up here and have a great haircut,” said Santana.