Antonio Galeno swivels the chair and picks up the scissors. He gracefully yet deftly cuts his client’s hair — all while greeting new customers walking through the door.
The grin never disappears from his face. He’s worked hard to start 5 Stars Barbershop in Peñitas, Texas, and with the help of the Buckner Family Hope Center, it’s flourishing.
Galeno wasn’t always a barber. He first worked construction and farming jobs. He didn’t love either and started dreaming of a different career.
“I started thinking it was time to go back to school,” he said. “I started to think about what things I could do that would let me grow something and make me feel like I’m doing something good.”
That’s when he decided to learn to cut hair.
Galeno started by working for another barbershop before, a year ago, he decided to open his own shop so he could be near his family.
Starting the shop was easy. Galeno’s magnetic personality and skills attracted many new clients. But keeping it going was a challenge because he had never owned a business before and was struggling with the day-to-day operations.
“When I opened the shop, I knew how to cut hair, and I knew I was good at it,” he said. “But I just didn’t know how to run a business. I was having a really hard time. I would get clients, but then I wouldn’t know where the money is between work expenses and personal expenses. I started to get confused.”
That’s when his wife, Vanesa, told him about the Family Hope Center. Her parents were also involved in it and she would sometimes take classes there. She thought Antonio might benefit from attending.
Galeno started going regularly, using the computer lab to work on business needs before his shop opened for the day. When the staff found out he opened his own shop, they showed him programs with step-by-step basics for operating a business.
When Family Coach Becci Ruiz noticed how committed he was to growing his business, she talked to Galeno and his wife about participating in the family coaching program at the Hope Center to identify goals in building self-sustainability for their family.
“We noticed he would come into the Hope Center every day for a couple of hours, and he was very consistent,” Ruiz said. “I realized he was very serious about completing the course and improving his business so I knew he would be a good candidate for the family coaching program. Antonio dreams big, and we’re trying to provide and connect him with the resources he needs to fulfill those dreams.”
Now, the shop is running more smoothly. Galeno regularly sees 30-40 clients a week and employs three other people to help on the weekends. Recently, he opened a second shop eight miles down the road. He also continues to look for those opportunities to further his business and has started creating his own line of hair products.
“I have learned patience and faith no matter how hard it looks,” he said. “I believe things are coming, and they’re coming for good. I started learning about faith – to just wait. Things will get better when God decides to bless you, and he will bless you.”