YAKIMA -- Customers at Jagz Barber Shop on Summitview Avenue lounge on large black leather couches and play video games on a big-screen TV while waiting for a haircut.
A couple of other customers shoot pool. Sports events flash on two flat-screen TVs and hip-hop music resounds from speakers.
It's a typical afternoon at the shop, where stylish haircuts and a hip-hop theme create a clublike atmosphere.
One wall features two flat-screen TVs and is lined with black barber chairs and neatly painted black and blue tool boxes are used to store barber sheers and other equipment.
An adjacent waiting area is outfitted with black leather couches and a big-screen TV that surrounds a large tire with a glass top that forms a table.
Walls are painted bright green and blue, and the floor is dressed in dark plank-style flooring.
On Jan. 31, 2009, the shop was nearly destroyed by arson, but it was remodeled and opened for business again five months later.
"It's just a positive place," said Joseph Martinez, who opened the shop 10 years ago with his wife, Amber.
A few doors down is Fade Aholics, where customers also can listen to hip-hop music, lounge and play video games while waiting for a haircut.
Manager Abimilec Leija said he tailored the shop after his own interest in hip-hop music when he opened it four years ago.
"Just kind of what I've been into growing up," the 25-year-old said. "What I've seen, what I've been around kind of influenced me into this direction."
Both shops do more than haircuts. Jagz invites youths to bring their art talent to the shop, where they can paint graffiti or murals, but nothing gang related.
And barbers at Fade Aholics compete with customers in video game challenges.
"Games, that's what pretty much keeps them entertained here," said Leija, who everyone calls Beemer. "Either that or magazines, hip-hop magazines and the music."
Hip-hop-themed barbershops are becoming a growing trend in the Yakima Valley, attracting younger customers at a time when the industry is booming.
Typical haircuts include low and high fades, faux-hawks, tapers and line-ups.
Micahn Carter, 32, said he opened the first hip-hop barbershop in Yakima 12 years ago, Yaktown's Finest. He recently closed the doors after becoming a full-time pastor at Morning Star Church.
His shop interwove his hip-hop swagger and Christian beliefs, and most of the barbers at Jagz once were either his customers or cut hair for him, he said.
"Basically what inspired me is that there were no barbershops for young people," he said. "I was cutting my own hair because there were no places to get a haircut in town. When I opened it up, I wanted a place where young people would feel comfortable to go."
He recently helped a former employee open a new shop -- Behind the Chair Barber Shop -- at 810 Nob Hill Blvd., which features graffiti, video games and hip-hop music.
The movement is being felt in the Lower Valley, too.
In Toppenish, Octavio's Barber Shop, in business about four months, is tucked in an upstairs corner of Kianna's merchandise store -- owned by his wife, Sandra -- on South Toppenish Avenue. It's a small shop with only two barbers. Business has been good, said owner Octavio Romero, 28.
On Saturdays alone, he estimates his shop gives anywhere from 40 to 50 haircuts, which cost an average of $10 to $25 each.
But business is fun, he said, describing the social atmosphere at his shop.
"A barbershop is like a social place where everyone can come and relax," he said. "The thing about a barbershop is (customers) get comfortable and they will tell you everything. Once they hit the chair, it's like a soap opera."
"It's a home away from home," said Juan Galvez, 22, who cuts hair alongside Romero. "We have a place where people can lounge out to where you don't mind waiting an hour."
The two walls of his shop are bright red with a black stripe. A sign over the barber chair reads "Man Cave." A flat-screen TV and stereo occupy a corner.
"When it gets busy, the customer will take over, watch a movie or play games," Octavio said.
"Sometimes customers will come in just to hang out for a while," Galvez added.
Just a few blocks away on South Alder Street is Slicks, where 21-year-old Luis Chavez filled his shop housed in a small block building with colorful graffiti inside, a pool table and, of course, a TV and video games.
"I set it up like this because it's more of a new style, like hip-hop," he said. "All the kids want to get their hair cut like their favorite rapper."
Barbers are required to hold a barber's license. And all of the hip-hop barbers in the Valley logged the required 1,100 hours in barber school and had to pass a two-hour written exam as well as show they can make various cuts properly to acquire their license.
Although a new flair, these hip-hop shops are merely using old barbershop principals to provide a social atmosphere, said Charles Kirkpatrick, executive director of the National Association of Barber Boards of America in Arkadelphia, Ark.
Checkers once was a common game at barbershops, and in the 1960s it wasn't unusual to find pool tables at the rear of shops, he said.
"Sports is something that's always a conversation piece in the barbershop, and games are the same thing, it's just fast- forwarded to modern-day games and stuff," he said.
After hitting a low point in the 1970s, the barbershop industry is booming again, he said.
In the 1960s, there were roughly 380,000 barbers nationwide before that number fell to about 190,000 in the 1970s, when longer hairstyles became more popular, he said.
Now the number of barbers has rebounded to roughly 350,000 and is still growing as short, neatly edged hairstyles have become popular, he said.
"I think it's an upcoming business, especially for the younger ones," he said. "And I think those guys are right on target marketing it that way."
All of the young barbers said they began breaking out the shears while in high school, carving designs and sharp, even edges into their friends' hair before deciding to go to barber school.