Daniel Ochoa ended his soccer career at Stanislaus State prematurely to focus on his other passion.

“I have no regrets leaving the sport,” the 2012 Central Valley High School grad said. “I got as much out of it as I could. You got to let go of things you love sometimes.”

Ochoa, 27, worked at Royal Barbers in Ceres for three years prior to becoming his own boss.

He opened Headquarters Barbershop at 3100 East Service Road, Suite 103 in December of 2016. He opened a second location at 2913 North Tegner Road in Turlock in August of 2019.

“It is something I’ve been doing since I was 13,” Ochoa said of cutting hair. “It was my hobby. But I treated it like my job. It became my career. I dropped out of college to focus 100 percent on my business. I never had a job besides just this.”

Ochoa sold his Ceres barbershop to his sister and nephew in January of this year so he could spend more time with his family.

Daniel Ochoa started cutting hair as a hobby when he was 13 years old. Now he’s turned it into his profession.

“It was a little too much work going back and forth between the two shops,” he said. “I decided to focus on just this one. I really like Turlock. The people support local businesses here.”

Headquarters Barbershop is open five days a week. Hours of operation are from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. Tuesday through Friday, and 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturdays.

“I do appointments only,” Ochoa said. “But we do take walk-ins when we’re not busy.”

Ochoa works at least four days a week.

“There are days I work 12 hours,” he said. “Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays are our busiest days. I enjoy being my own boss. I get to set my own hours. But you have to put in a lot of work to make it successful. I’ve surrounded myself with great people. I have a solid clientele base. They’re in there quite often.”

Ochoa and other business owners throughout California were forced to shut down during the height of the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic.

Ochoa’s landlord didn’t charge him rent the two months his shop was closed.

“It was still stressful,” he said. “When I was going to reopen in May, I didn’t know if all my barbers would return. Business grew when we came back.”

Ochoa works alongside five other barbers in Turlock.

“We keep our business clean,” he said. “We’re six feet apart. We leave it up to the customers if they want to wear masks.”

Ochoa also formed a side business with two partners of selling barber supplies.

Ochoa was a member of the Stanislaus State men’s soccer program for two seasons in 2012 and 2013.

“It was a memorable experience,” he said. “I really enjoyed traveling with the team. I didn’t lose my love for the sport. It was like a full-time job. You have class and soccer. I just wanted to enjoy playing soccer.”