Local barbers left scrambling ahead of holidays after fire destroys St. Augustine shop

Building, barber tools ruined in fire at The King’s Chair Barber Club

The King’s Chair Barber Club on West King Street in St. Augustine was destroyed in a fire. (Photos provided)

ST. AUGUSTINE; Fla.The King’s Chair Barber Club has been serving the St. Augustine community for eight years, and the owners call it a community staple.

“A place where everyone comes in full of joy and happiness,” said Hector Rivera, describing the barber shop where he’s worked for five years.

He said the six barbers who work there have formed a brotherhood.

“It’s like being with your family,” Rivera said. “Right now, we’re all separated.”

That’s because the shop on West King Street was destroyed in a fire in early December, leaving its barbers unemployed right before the holidays.

The fire not only left the building a charred mess but also melted all the barbers’ tools, which cost thousands of dollars.

“I just can’t explain. The feeling is almost as if you know someone wants to tell you the worst news -- like a loss of a family member or something,” Rivera said. “I’m the main breadwinner in my home. I have children in my home. I’m just in shock.”

The only thing Rivera was able to salvage was a Philadelphia Eagles barber cape from the owners.

He said it was a sign, and he’ll be an Eagles fan for life. He also believes the owners will rebuild.

“They’re going to do something bigger and better. You better believe they are,” Rivera said.

In the meantime, the men have to figure out how to make money on the side now that their primary source of income is gone.

“Taking things day by day,” said Derrick Hannah, another barber at the shop. “Doing house calls for clients that have reached out or that I’ve reached out to.”

The King’s Chair Barber Club has a mobile barber shop, but it only has room for three barbers and their clients.

A restoration company was at the shop Tuesday to start the cleanup process and eventual demolition of the building.

The owners of the barbershop set up a GoFundMe to help with the rebuild.

About the Author:

Brie Isom joined the News4JAX team in January 2021 after spending three years covering news in South Bend, Indiana.