SportsClips making hairstyling experience fun

Mark Leonard has always enjoyed the trip to the barbershop to get his hair clipped, but he knows many people don't feel the same way.

Some youngsters are too antsy or even are frightened by their first few haircuts. Some adults hate missing out on sports or soap operas.

"So I designed a place where I thought everyone would enjoy getting their hair cut," Leonard said Thursday as he showed off SportsClips, the hair salon he has opened on East William Street next to Schlotzsky's Deli.

SportsClips features a television at each styling station, complete with its own Dish TV satellite tuner and videotape player.

Two more televisions, one a large-screen model, grace the waiting area and more than 40 channels are available at every screen with the touch of a remote control button.

"People can come in and not miss their games or their soap operas," Leonard said.

"But it's been even better for the little kids. Their moms put them in the chairs and turn on cartoons or bring a favorite video from home and the kids just kind of zone out and sit still so they get a better haircut.

"We had one little boy in who'd been asked not to come back to another shop because he always got so upset. He had no problem sitting still for his haircut here."

Leonard said that being a certified public accountant, not a hair stylist, gave him a new perspective on what a hair cutting studio should look like.

Besides providing the satellite TV viewing, he designed the business' layout to be more spacious than other salons.

"I went all over town, getting my hair cut and looking at how things ran and how they were designed," he said. "I didn't like it when people were bumping into each other, so I spaced the stations on 7-foot-minimum centers. Some are twice that far apart, because I left some blank spaces for future expansion. And our waiting area is very roomy."

One thing Leonard did not see elsewhere was much accommodation of the youngest customers.

"So I went on the Internet and I found the children's chairs," he said.

The two children's styling chairs are actually working pedal cars, little red convertible VWs, mounted on sturdy pedestals. The pedals spin the wheels and the steering wheels link to the front wheels. Seat belts secure the tiny drivers during their haircuts.

"I did disable the squeaker horns though," Leonard said.

Much of the other equipment like the full-sized styling chairs, the individual stations and counters was also located on the Internet, he said.

SportsCuts does several things different than elsewhere in the industry, Leonard said, because he came in without preconceptions.

"My stylists are all employees, rather than independent contractors. And I pay better than the franchises that do have employees so I'm attracting the best stylists," Leonard said.

"We have discounted prices for seniors on Tuesdays and Wednesdays.

"And do you know of any other salon where you're offered a free soda while you're waiting?"

He said SportsCuts' prices are only about a dollar higher than those at the economy franchises - $12 for adults and $10 for children.

Debra Phillips, who helped Leonard open SportsCuts, has been a licensed stylist for 30 years, many of them in Carson City.

"I told Mark what he needed to order for supplies and equipment and I worked with each of the stylists so they are courteous and congenial with customers," Phillips said.

The other stylists - Lisa Gonzales, Raylena Garett and In Sook Chun - each have been licensed at least two years and have received additional training since then, Phillips said.

He said the sports theme, with the pennants decorating the walls and the large number of sports channels available via satellite, was based on the popularity of sports bars and sports activities in general.

"It seems like everyone has a favorite sport - mine's tennis," he said.

Leonard grew up in the Sacramento area, working as a fry cook while he earned a master's degree in taxation accounting. He spent about several years at Lake Tahoe, working as a white water river raft guide for Mort's Outrageous River Trips, one part of the year and preparing business tax returns the other.

Leonard lived in Carson City for eight years while working for Raymond Mann CPA Ltd. during the tax seasons. Wife Carizandra "Zandy" is a computer programmer for Bender Warehouse Co. in Reno and the couple have a 13-month-old girl, Nicole.



1426 East William St. Suite 3

(775) 884-2236

Mon.-Fri. 9 a.m.-7 p.m.

Sat.-Sun. 10 a.m.-6 p.m.


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