NEW MEXICO (KRQE) – A longtime local barber is saying “so long” to his loyal customers and “hello” to retirement. However, the legacy of his family-owned business will live on as new life is coming to his shop. 

“I am going to miss it. I’m trying not to cry,” said the retired owner of Lil Arts Barber Shop, Orlando Mora. Mora is hanging up his hat after a successful career running his family’s business, Lil Arts Barber Shop. “This by far was my calling. It was the best thing that could have happened to me, but it’s just time to move on,” said Mora.

Back in 1961, Mora’s father, Art, opened the original location in the Village of Los Ranchos. According to Mora, they gave the best haircuts. It’s been a month since Mora closed his doors and announced his retirement. However, when friends and customers see him inside sorting out what’s left, they stop by to shake the hand of the recent retiree and reminisce on memories.

Mora mentioned, “People don’t necessarily come in here as friends, but they become friends because of the atmosphere.” Now, he is glad to see the shop will live on.

“When we saw and heard about the history that Orlando and his father had here, it was something that really honestly gave us chills,” said the owner of Artist Barber Shop in Rio Rancho, Martin Patterson. Patterson is taking over Mora’s business location.

“It’s just cool to see that someone made it that long as a barber and he was intertwined through so many families throughout the Village of Los Ranchos. It’s big shoes to fill, but we’re glad to take a shot at it,” said Patterson.

Even though the new owner plans on making a few renovations, he hopes to honor the spirit of the original owners. Patterson stated, “He’s going to always be a part of this shop no matter what. Even though it might be a little tuned up and maybe a different name, they are going to always be part of it.”

As for Mora’s future, he commented, “I’m thinking I’m going to wash my truck, buy a hat, and maybe drive off into the sunset.” The new owner hopes the shop will be open by the middle of May.