Husband and wife team Michael Molina and Jessa Hondrombilas have been working side by side as barbers since attending barber college eight years ago in the southwest suburbs.
Since 2015, the Brookfield residents have plied their trade in LaGrange and in their hometown, but earlier this year they took the plunge, buying a long-vacant Eight Corners building and converting it into GoodxTimes Barbershop, which opened its doors Aug. 31 at 3501 Maple Ave.
After kicking around names for the business, Hondrombilas suggested Good Times – the “x” is a nod to their love of straight-edge hardcore music – and it hit a chord for Molina.
“It was kind of, like, you know that’s perfect,” Molina said. “That’s kind of what we want with this. We want people to come in, have fun, feel comfortable.”
It also summed up the couple’s life since deciding to jump into barbering around 2013-14.
“To me, the name just reminds me of literally some of the greatest years of my life,” said Molina of his decision to become a barber, meeting colleagues who would become close friends who as a text message group called themselves the Good Times Gang.
Both Molin and Hondrombilas are licensed barbers, offering the full range of services that license allows in Illinois, including straight razor shaves and beard trims. But the shop also has two cosmetologists, Victoria Simikoski and Mark Kostelny, who offer other styling services.
Mixing the two worlds – not always looked kindly upon by traditional barbers, who like to maintain a separate identity – was something the couple learned while honing their skills at Floyd’s Barbershop in LaGrange.
“Why would we ever want to say no to someone walking in?” Hondrombilas said. “We liked traditional barbering, but we didn’t like that kind of mentality.”
Hondrombilas and Molina built out the shop so that it feels bright and open, with white walls and ceiling, putting the focus on clients, not the shop walls.
“We also felt that anyone, no matter what length of hair, any classification, gender – can walk in the door and feel comfortable getting a haircut,” Molina said. “Anyone who comes through the door, we say, ‘Yes, we have someone for that.’”
When GoodxTimes Barbershop opened its door, it was the first time in a decade that a business had operated out of the small building on a pie-shaped property bounded by Maple Avenue and Grand Boulevard that forms one of the eight “corners,” facing the Veterans Memorial Circle.
From the mid-1970s until about 2012 the building housed Harps Realty, which was hard to miss with its oversize yellow “Harps” sign atop a pole outside the office. That pole came down in May to be in compliance with Brookfield’s code about a month after Hondrombilas and Molina bought the property from Linda Sokol Francis, who acquired the derelict office building in 2017.
Francis overhauled the building’s mechanical, electric and plumbing systems, leaving Hondrombilas and Molina a blank canvas for their build-out, much of it done by themselves throughout the summer.
A pair of bright green benches outside the front door have been welcomed in particular by crossing guards at the circle.
“Being on the circle, we’re in the eye,” Hondrombilas said. “We’re taking a big step, so we’re not going to be a little hole in the wall. We’re taking on a piece of history of Brookfield. When we were designing and creating … I said, ‘We’re going to do it right.’”
GoodxTimes Barbershop is open Monday through Saturday. Operating hours and more information can be found at goodxtimesbarbershop.com.