Anthony Simmons, a Haircut, and a Barbie Dream Car

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September 16, 2010

Anthony Simmons

Anthony Simmons

Even though retiring at 30 gave him some freedom, Anthony Simmons sought a new life after a career as a linebacker in the National Football League. Now, he’s starting a new season in his life and hopes to succeed as an entrepreneur and owner of Sharkey’s Cuts for Kids in Henderson, Nevada.

Simmons’ football career was structured and planned out. “You always had someone telling you where to go and where to be,” Simmons said. “It was all planned out, so the only thing you had to focus on was your job.”

After seven seasons as a linebacker with the Seahawks (1998-2004) and the New Orleans Saints, for whom he didn’t physically play, Simmons had reached the end of his playing days. “Back in 2000, when I was still playing, I began thinking about what I wanted to do after this career ended,” Simmons said. “I kept asking myself, ‘How can I do something and have help? How can I do something and not be on my own?’ I decided to look into franchising.”

Simmons01_1105When the economy tanked, Simmons said he looked at his options to franchise. “People are not going to purchase unnecessary items,” Simmons said. “I knew I couldn’t do clothing because people were buying less. I couldn’t do food because people weren’t eating out. I thought about child care but knew with less people working, day care would be out of the question (because people are staying at home and can take care of their children).”

Simmons weighed the pros and cons of every option but kept coming back to something with children. “In my opinion, the last thing to be cut from people’s budgets are things for your children,” Simmons said.

Simmons came across Sharkey’s Cuts for Kids about three years ago and was interested in the concept. A year later, Sharkey’s was in town to promote itself and recruit potential local franchise owners. He decided to investigate more and traveled to Sharkey’s locations in Texas and Canada. Simmons was sold on the idea.

Cars300_0916“It’s a fun place for kids to come in and get their hair cut,” Simmons said. “The overall look is different from other salons. After I saw the schematics and the color schemes of Sharkey’s, I was very intrigued.”

On Aug. 12, a few weeks before the school year started in Clark County, Sharkey’s opened in Henderson. When getting a haircut, children can play games or watch movies. Some of the younger children can sit in toy cars, such as a Jeep or a Barbie dream car, instead of traditional salon chairs. There still are regular salon chairs available for older children, who also can play video games.

Simmons’ employees love the concept. “Kids are better than adults,” said Carl Allen, who works at Sharkey’s. “When you work with adults, they come in and can be very demanding because they know exactly what they want.”

Chairs300_0916Allen said there are children who wouldn’t sit still unless they had the options Sharkey’s offers. “If it weren’t for the games, this wouldn’t work,” said Fahimea Askari, who also works at Sharkey’s. “The games make them focus so you can do your job.”

Overall, Simmons said it relaxes children who might be nervous about getting their hair cut. Simmons still is adjusting to his new career path, especially working with little girls. One of Sharkey’s child-centered features is the Glamour Girl and Karaoke Birthday Party. Girls can dress up in princess costumes, get their hair and makeup done and do a fashion show.

“I am a big kid at heart,” Simmons said. “I’ll run around and laugh with them. The first time I had to deal with a little girl’s party was hard, because I didn’t know what to expect.”

This isn’t the only event Simmons does. Sharkey’s also hosts Kids Night Out from 7 to 10 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays for children 5 or older. Parents can drop their kids off for an evening of fun. “Anytime you can make a child smile is fulfilling,” Simmons said.

Even though Simmons doesn’t cut hair, people will find him at the shop. “If you love kids, you’re going to want to hang out with them,” Simmons said.

Sharkeys_logo250When he is not marketing Sharkey’s or networking his business, Simmons probably is at the front desk hanging out with children or talking to their parents. Simmons is also considering enrolling in beauty school. “I don’t want to cut hair,” Simmons assured. “I’m sure if I cut hair now I would mess it up. I want to learn more about the industry though.”

For now, Simmons is happy running Sharkey’s. “I’m looking into expanding in Nevada,” Simmons said. “Eventually, I’ll look into bringing it to parts of Washington, Oregon and Idaho.”