After more than 55 years in business, Jigg’s Barber Shop is hanging up its shears next month and making way for yet another gallery to open along Santa Fe Drive.
Seventy-five-year-old Eddie Lopez is calling April 17 his last day at 836 Santa Fe Drive. At that time next year, art will likely hang near spaces where barber chairs now swivel.
“I had people coming every month and sending me letters. They wanted to buy the building, but I wasn’t ready,” Lopez said Thursday. Earlier this year, he finally listed the property.
“I don’t even know the name of the lady I sold the building to,” Lopez said. “She’s going to remodel the whole thing. Probably gut it out.”
Lopez’s real estate agent didn’t want to name the buyer or provide contact information before the deal was final.
“I’m absolutely certain sure she’s going to be the buyer, but I don’t want to jinx it,” said Billy Van Heusen Sr., a former Denver Broncos punter and real estate agent with Keller Williams Realty. “Her plans are going before the city today, but I think the best thing to do is not say anything until we get an answer. It’s still kind of early.”
Lopez’s barber shop and the adjacent building, which he also owns, were listed on the online commercial real estate marketplace Loopnet for $1.5 million.
Since 2008, roughly 60 business properties in the Art District on Santa Fe have changed hands at least once generating upward of $54 million in sales, according to city property records.
“It’s just a sign of the times,” said Andrea Barela, president of the Santa Fe Business Improvement District. “We’re seeing a lot of gentrification all throughout Denver, and our neighborhood isn’t any different.”
Barela called the people flocking to Santa Fe Drive a “double-edged sword.”
“You want the area to economically prosper, but you also want it to be economically diverse,” she said. “We’re hoping we get more of a mix of the type of businesses down here instead of it being completely galleries.”
There are at least 15 galleries along Santa Fe Drive between Sixth and 13th avenues.
“It’s become an area known for the galleries,” said Andres Neidig. Neidig started getting his hair cut at Jigg’s more than two decades ago after opening the La Jota Mexicana radio station at 828 Santa Fe Drive.
“Santa Fe’s changed a lot after I established my radio station there in 1989,” he said. “The whole street was shuttered. There were boards on the windows and the doors. It was a mess.”
“It’s sad to see a business like Eddie’s go. But hey, he’s been operating for over 50 years. He needs his time off,” Neidig said.
Barela said Jigg’s absence will be especially noticeable for the old guard of Santa Fe.
“It’s going to be a very emotional thing to see them go, to not see their sign anymore, to not see people in there getting hair cuts, ” Barela said. “We love Jigg’s and we hate to see him go, but at the end of the day, we wish the best for him and his family.”
Lopez has cut four generations of hair at the Santa Fe shop. He’s seen the street in front of his building go from a struggling avenue with two-way traffic to one-way corridor drawing crowds during the First Friday Art Walks held each month. Now, he’s looking forward to seeing what’s next.
“I haven’t enjoyed life. It’s been back and forth to work and that’s it,” he said. “I haven’t seen anything — not even Colorado. I’ll go on trips and enjoy life.”
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