Gearhead Salon and Barbershop opened recently at 701 E. Second St. in Reno. It’s the second location of Gearhead. The first is in Chico, California. The Reno shop can be reached at 337-2889.
Where’s the name come from, Gearhead?
Well, back in the ’50s, you had greasers, and the greasers would work on cars and whatnot. During the ’70s, car manufacturers started taking what the greasers were doing to their cars and do ’em up and you can get muscle cars. And gearhead was the name to work on anything—any kind of car, be it a car, truck, motorcycle. If you’re wrenching, you’re working on the gears, then you’re a gearhead. … I was born in San Gabriel, [California], but I graduated in Reno, Nevada. I’ve been gone 17 years. I went to Wooster High School. My mom is retiring. My dad is Chef Joe Eidem. … He was the chef at Washoe Medical Center—Renown. And now he does Chef Joe Consults. He’s in Rancho Cucamonga, [California], but he’ll be moving back in October. So, with my parents getting a little bit older … that’s one of my reasons for moving back, being near them. … My mom worked for the VA medical center for 38 years, and she’s retiring.
How did you end up in Chico?
At the time [in 2002], it was right when the Indian casinos were just starting to go up. Did you ever see Hot Tub Time Machine? You know when they’re going back to the town, and everything is all boarded up? I just saw that happening to Reno. Reno was kind of going through a dark ages, if you will, and I was a father. And with the 24-hour town, and the drinking and whatnot, I just wanted a better life for them. … Long story short, my wife was from Paradise, California, so I moved [to Chico] to raise my kids. My youngest is 17 now, and … we’re moving back.
Paradise went through serious trauma. How did the fire affect your business and your family?
I was fortunate enough that it didn’t affect my business other than lost time with the smoke and the evacuations. But my friends and family and my employees, seeing them lose so much—my manager right now in the Reno shop, she lost everything. … She came to me and said, “Tony, I just lost everything. You’re opening up the shop in Reno. I would like to go there and start anew.” Now, she’s got a boyfriend, she’s got a great job, and she’s pretty happy rebuilding everything. The community in Reno has embraced her. … Gearhead is an old-school barbershop. We’re one of the only walk-in barbershops. Also, why did we open up in Reno? We saw with the other shops—there is great artists and great shops in Reno, but they’re all booked out for two weeks and charging over $20 a haircut, with no walk-ins. Gearhead’s business plan is we’re a walk-in-only shop, with $15 haircuts, with free beer and water. We have a small arcade there. We cater to all walks of life.
How does Reno seem different?
Culture. Culture! When I went to school in Reno—when I lived in Reno, your dad was a pitboss and your mom was a cocktail waitress. There was always a house to go to at night because there was some parents who were working graveyard. And there wasn’t much culture for the kids. I love midtown, and the—dare I say—the Sacramento feel. … Coming back to Reno and seeing the culture and the art, and the people and the growth … has been amazing. … I just love the new culture of it all. I’m very happy to be back.