By: Brooklyn Arnest On January 19th, a devastating electrical fire took place inside the heart of King's Club Barbershop. Aside from $225,000 in damages to the shop, thankfully no one was physically injured or hurt. Not only were Mike Swenson and the guys affected by the fire but what seemed to be the entire community of Dana point. Last Saturday, hundreds of people turned out for a fundraising event to help rebuild the destroyed shop. The event was hosted at Hobie surf shop in Dana Point. The vibe felt more like a huge family BBQ than a typical charity event, laid back surfer types populated the area in front of the shop, laughing, eating, drinking and catching up.
Swenson was busy working away like any other Saturday, giving his customers cuts and shaves outside, which definitely added to the old-school essence of the benefit. There was raw, folky and soulful live music being played by South County's own two favorite gems, Live Oak Revue and Vinnie and the Hooligans; who are also customers of Swenson; Scott Young of Hooligans also works as a barber for him. Back when we profiled them for our Locals Only column, we actually did it inside the shop.
The boys kept it pretty mellow, playing covers so the crowd could sing along and two or three of their original songs. The night wasn't about the bands getting out there and showcasing their music, it was about The Kings Club Barber Shop being showcased, and the members of the bands really did a great job by coming out and showing their support. Zak Salazar, lead singer of The Live Oak Revue put it best, "The Kings Club has really become a staple of Dana Point culture. It sounds cliché but it is actually one of those places where everyone knows your name, and they are ready to greet you with a firm handshake and a good joke."
The bands really did come out to just be apart of the day and enjoy the festivities. The fact that they supplied all the tacos and beer we could stomach didn't hurt either. Full plates of grub were available for a reasonable donation of $20. Tacos were provided by our local Shwack Beach Grill,and the beer by St. Archer. But the main attraction was the raffle, which took place at the end of the event. Items included a signed Magic Johnson jersey for all the Laker fans in our community, a signed painting by our very own Cory Schnitzer, brother of Matt Schnitzer a barber at the shop, a Norco Santiago bike worth $550, and also a gift certificate for a "one year of looking good" from The Kings Club Barbershop.
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After the raffle and all the numbers tallied up, the end result came out to about roughly$11,000 in donations. When we asked Matt Schnitzer, one of the barbers at Kings Club, about his thoughts on the day he said, "It couldn't of been a better turn out! Barbers from all over Orange County, even LA came to show their support for us. The day really was a huge success, and really makes me love what I do that much more."