Barber reflects on 63 years of serving the South Side community

Pete Hernandez, 82, is not a typical barber. He still cuts hair the old-fashioned way and has a relationship with every client

SAN ANTONIO – The saying goes, ‘If you love what you do, you’ll never work a day in your life’. That’s exactly how South Side San Antonio barber Pete Hernandez is feeling as he rounds out more than 60 years of cutting hair.

KSAT sat down with Hernandez to find out what keeps him going after all those years and why he’s never left his San Antonio community.

“I just thank the good lord for letting me come to work every day,” Hernandez said.

Hernandez has been cutting hair for 64 years and 63 of them were on the South Side.

Hernandez’s niece, Melissa Gonzales, said he’s different.

“He’s not the typical barber,” Gonzales said.

Pete is 82 but he remembers cutting hair in 1982, like it was yesterday.

“Boys haircuts were $1,” he said. “Man’s haircuts were a dollar and a quarter, and flat tops were $1.50. So, yeah, you had to cut a lot of haircuts to make a living.”

That didn’t stop Hernandez from pursuing his passion, even though his beloved South Side of San Antonio has stayed packed with competition.

“Barbershops are popping up like taco huts,” Hernandez said.

“He’s going to offer that difference for the older clientele,” Gonzales said. “The people that really want that one on one.”

Pete’s barbershop is called, ‘Big and Little.’ It’s named after a previous owner, to reflect “big in service and little in size” because of the owner’s height.

While Hernandez doesn’t share the same height range, his dedication to preserving the South Side community is strong. So of course, he kept the name.

This is a community Hernandez spent his life building that he says, can’t be replaced.

“Competition is fierce,” Hernandez said. “But hey, if you’re a good barber, you’ll keep your customers. So I’ve been blessed.”

“We’re so proud of him,” Gonzales said.

So Pete’s life advice is to love what you do and do what you love.

About the Authors

Zaria Oates is a news reporter for KSAT 12. She joined in June 2024 from Memphis, where she worked at ABC24. Oates graduated from Clemens High School in Schertz and earned a journalism degree from the University of Oklahoma. She's passionate about learning, traveling and storytelling.

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