Before opening his barbershop, Set Lopez tried his hand at a number of trades, from bartending to nursing school to six years in the U.S. Marine Corps.

Although he’s now the owner of 2-year-old barbershop Virtus Barber & Co. in Lakewood, Lopez said the idea of cutting hair had never crossed his mind until Halloween in 2013. While cutting out a honey badger costume for the holiday, his wife, Jennifer, who works as a hairstylist, noticed his artistic potential and suggested that he try hairstyling as well.

Lopez said he laughed the idea off at first but eventually decided to give haircutting rather than styling a try in 2015, and he quickly “fell in love with it.” He realized that cutting hair aligned with the same customer skills and interpersonal relationships he had come to value as a bartender.

“The action of cutting hair is awesome, but beyond that, you develop such an intimate relationship with your clients,” Lopez said. “I have a lot of clients that have become super close friends and confidantes, even some mentors.”

Before opening his own shop, Lopez worked in a barbershop for a few years, then opened a salon suite in March 2020—which he was forced to close two weeks later due to the COVID-19 pandemic. But Lopez didn’t let the pandemic stop him from pursuing entrepreneurship.

He said he felt inspired by his father, Fidel Lopez, who “worked so hard” to immigrate his family from Mexico to the U.S. Watching Fidel, who owns a small business that he runs out of his house, create a new life for his family motivated Lopez to also pursue business ownership.

“In my moments of wondering ‘what am I going to do,’ I thought of my dad and knew I was going to pull through and it would be fine,” Lopez said. “I was going to be like my dad and just go for it.”

In April 2021, he opened Virtus Barber & Co. In a way, he “proved” himself to his dad, Lopez said.

As far as the barbershop’s name, Lopez said he chose “Virtus” because he wanted something Roman that didn’t sound nonsecular. Virtus, derived from the Latin word for man, carries connotations of manhood and valor, but for Lopez, it boiled down to the epitome of “being a good person.”

From the start of Virtus, Lopez said he hasn’t been interested in competing with other salons and barbershops. While he’s open to branching out with up to three new shops in the future, he’s focused on what he’s curating beyond just fresh haircuts.

Lopez pointed out Welcome Stranger Tattoo, a Lakewood tattoo shop known for its “nurturing” environment, as an example of the vibe and aesthetic he wanted to create, paired with “good morals and values.” He said he wanted to create something similar that would be a “cornerstone in the neighborhood.”

“I’ve been [in Lakewood] for quite a while, and I love this area,” Lopez said. “I wanted to provide quality service and a place for people to walk in and just want to hang out and have a beer or just say 'hi.' We’re a neighborhood barbershop.”

Business information

Virtus Barber & Co., 6224 La Vista Drive, Dallas


Hours: Mon.-Thu. 10 a.m.-8 p.m., Fri.-Sat. 9 a.m.-5 p.m, closed Sun.