Brownwood Barbershop owners, like their business, 'Stay Blessed'

Steve Nash
Brownwood Bulletin
Zach Arduini and Erica Monroe prepare to open Stay Blessed Barbershop in Brownwood on a recent morning.

Zach Arduini and Erica Monroe are friends, co-workers — and now business co-owners — who say they're blessed.

So it’s fitting that Arduini and Monroe named the barbershop they opened in Brownwood earlier this month the Stay Blessed Barbershop.

“The reason we get to keep going is because we’re blessed — in everything,” Monroe said one recent morning as they prepared for customers.

The barber shop is among a suite of businesses in Centennial Point, located at 2222 U.S. Highway 377.

Arduini, who is from Pennsylvania, and Monroe, who grew up in Richland Springs, were friends and co-workers before deciding to open a barbershop together.

Arduini, a four-year Marine Corps veteran, moved with his wife, Marlena, to Brownwood six years ago. Marlena Arduini is an occupational therapist who was recruited by Brownwood Regional Medical Center — now Hendrick Medical Center — Brownwood.

Zach Arduini got a job as a correctional officer at the Ron Jackson State Juvenile Correctional Complex, where he worked with Monroe’s husband, Will. Will Monroe told Arduini that his wife was a cosmetologist, and Arduini began going to Erica Monroe for haircuts.

Erica Monroe ended up working at the state school, where she and Arduini were co-workers.

“Erica left, and she talked me into going to barber school,” Arduini said. “When I was in the military I wanted to run a barber shop. Everybody needs haircuts … why not?

“I ended up leaving (Ron Jackson) and we went to barber school together.”

After barber school in Abilene, they worked at The Salon for two years. Last year, Arduini was voted the top barber in the Best of Brown County awards.

“We decided to venture out on our own,” Arduini said. “We actually looked at opening a shop before going into The Salon, but we didn’t have the clientele. … we had to pay our dues before we could get in anywhere.”

Monroe added, “it wasn’t our time.”

And Monroe still cuts Arduini’s hair. He doesn’t want anyone else to cut it.

 “I couldn’t be more proud to be his partner,” Monroe said.