The chain was founded in 2001 by a Portland native who noticed a gap in the local barbershop market — there weren’t any relaxed, unisex hair salons where both men and women could have a beer, get a haircut, and generally chill out. Bishops (which was named after the founder’s dog) quickly grew in popularity, until there were more than a dozen locations in Oregon alone. Now that the business has begun franchising, Bishops is spreading across the country.
Bishops describes itself as “serious about hair, irreverent about most other things.” The shop is defined by its colorful, laid-back atmosphere — curated music videos play on screens in the style of early MTV, and free beer is available to customers 21-plus.
While the Portland locations originally featured a number of permanent murals, the Bishops opening in Pacific Beach opts instead for a rotating collection of installations done by local artists, which the owner feels will both create community involvement and allow the business to showcase a variety of perspectives.
A key point of Bishops philosophy is that a business should be involved in the community. In Portland, Bishops closes its doors once a year so its staff can spend a day volunteering with a variety of charity projects. Bishops also believes strongly in the importance of inclusiveness and diversity.
The shop caters to both men and women, and their hiring policy gives people of all backgrounds an equal chance at employment. The Portland Bishops has a float in the annual Pride Parade, a tradition likely to continue now that the shop is opening in San Diego.
For more information, visit www.bishopsbs.com.
The Bishops opening in Pacific Beach will be the first San Diego location, but two more are planned for the coming years. According to the owner, if all goes well those won’t be the last.