If there's one thing the COVID-19 pandemic taught Oceanside barbershop owner Darrius Pope, it's resilience.
Pope signed the lease to his own shop right before the pandemic hit.
“A lot of people told me not to open a barbershop and I had a lot of doubts, but I had a passion for it, so it pushed me to do it,” said Pope.
Pope, who is still an active member of the Marines Corps, says it was during his time at Camp Pendleton that he developed his love for cutting hair.
"While in the military I went to school at night, on top of already having to work," he said.
Pope was working at a local barbershop at the time, and as soon as he graduated he knew he needed to open up his own shop.
But his timing was a little off.
"I signed the lease for this place in March and then two weeks later COVID hits," said Pope.
With the keys to his place in hand and unable to open his doors, Pope faced some difficulties but knew he couldn't give up.
“It was hard, I’m not going to lie, but it was the passion, the resilience, that kept me going” said Pope.
Pope didn't sit still even though the public health order prevented him from seeing clients. Instead he began to develop a client list and promote his business.
On June 19 he was finally able to open his doors, but that didn't mean the challenge was over.
“Now that we’re open, because of COVID, it’s kind of difficult because we don’t get as much foot traffic as we would," he explained.
But Pope isn't letting Clutch Cuts fade anytime soon.
“I love a challenge,” said Pope. “I joined the Marine Corps, so I was like 'I’m going to do it, I know I can do it.”'