The Torres family from left: Andrew, Pedro (Pete), Jonathan, Louis and Pete
Pete Torres’ grandfather Louis was a craftsman. He offered his wide variety of services from shoe repair to harvesting sugar cane in his Salinas, Puerto Rico, community. Those services included barbering.
“He didn’t have a shop,” says Torres. “He just went around town and cut hair in peoples’ homes.”
When Torres’ dad, Pedro (nicknamed Pete) graduated high school, he moved with an uncle to New York City, where he got a job at a greeting card company. But soon after, the company announced it was closing in a year, leaving Pedro time to find another job.
“He opened up a phone book and saw Atlas Barber school,” Torres says. “And he remembered his own dad, my grandfather, cutting hair in the community.”
Pedro continued working his day job while going to barber school in the evening.
“He became a barber, and eventually opened his own shop with a partner,” Torres says. “They were partners for 15 years before he opened Pete’s Barber and Hairstyling in Moriches, New York, in 1984.”
Pete's Barber and Hairstyling in Moriches, New York
The Family Business
In 1986, Pedro moved his shop when he bought a building, and today, passed his love of barbering onto his sons, Pete and Andrew.
Andrew opened his own barber shop in Long Island, which he ran for 18 years before moving his family to Georgia, where he and his son, Jonathan, operate Kennesaw Barbershop.
Back in Moriches, Pete has been running Pete’s Barber and Hairstyling since 2019, and currently employs six barbers.
“We pour everything into our staff,” he says. “If they are happy and have the tools they need to be successful, our business is also successful.”
Part of that success lies in education. Pete encourages his team to take advantage of classes offered by distributors and area shows. He personally attends five trade shows per year with Sensei, his favorite brand of scissors.
“In 2009, I filled in at a trade show for someone at Sensei and learned so much about their shears,” he says. “They tell their customers how to make an educated decision about buying scissors, which can be intimidating if you’re new to the business.”
Pete's wife Francesca is also part of the family business, working with Pete in the barber shop and at trade shows.
A Cut Above
Sensei Shear Systems started with the idea of making scissors that are healthier for a stylist or barber to use. With a focus on quality, performance and education, Sensei has been delivering high-quality scissors to barbers and stylists for nearly 40 years, proving ergonomically designed shears perform in ways other products simply can't.
“The process Sensei uses to design and create their scissors is like no other,” Torres says. “They forge scissors at 1,200 degrees Farenheit and then put them into a chamber with liquid nitrogen, slowly bringing the temperature down to -300 degrees, then back up to room temperature. This makes the molecules separate evenly and harden evenly, giving even durability to the blade and creating a stronger scissor that will last longer.”
Pete’s also a huge fan of Sensei’s rotating scissor.
“I started using rotating scissors 13 years into my career, and because of that, I don’t have any pain or problems in my hand,” he says. “If I use a fixed pair of scissors it feels like my fingers are in handcuffs now.”
Sensei's Tao Series 2 Rotating shears
While Pete loves working behind the chair and coaching his barbers, he also looks forward to his time at trade shows, where he’s able to get a pulse on current trends and connect with other barbers.
“I like giving back to the younger generation and encourage them to know their tools,” he says. “The better you understand them, the better and more efficient you become at your craft.”