Gustavo Montenegro has owned Headrush Barbershop in Greenpoint, Brooklyn for more than 20 years.
Many of his customers know him as "Goose." Montenegro is also known to his neighbors for his generosity.
It’s why NY1 made him one of our New Yorkers of the week in 2019 when he gave federal workers free haircuts during the government shutdown.
Now he's the one in need of help.
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He’s estimated his losses at around $1,000 a week since he had to close shop because of the coronavirus.
"After the beginning, I thought I was going to be alright, but now I’m touching into my life savings and I’m not receiving any kind of help," Montenegro said.
After two failed attempts at applying for federal aid being offered to small businesses, he's decided to see clients in his apartment.
Doing so, he's now able to bring in a few hundred dollars a week.
"I got to take things into my own hands and go back to the basics. So, I’m doing what I used to do growing up. This is how I started," Montenegro said.
Not considered an essential business, Montenegro’s barbershop has not been allowed to open for weeks.
On April 29, when he and an employee showed up at his shop to tidy up, surveillance video captured when five police officers showed up at the business and told Montenegro to clear out.
"There was banging on the gates and it startled me because I’m not open for business. So I was like you know, ‘Who is this?’” said Montenegro.
As a result, he's operating behind closed doors, his own closed doors, but not without taking some new precautions.
He now takes a customer's temperature upon arrival, limits his conversation with clients, and sanitizes his chair and tools between appointments.
"I have a wife that has health issues and, yeah, I’m scared bringing anything into this house, but it leaves me no choice. You know, I’m sort of cornered in," Montenegro said.
Montenegro also told NY1 that his goal now is to open officials’ eyes to what's happening to small business owners amid the pandemic.
He said he knows coming forward could mean losing his license, but said he won’t need the license if he can’t save the business he's built.