When Shannon Jackson opened Heavi Hitters in 2019, the licensed barber and salon made history.
“We are the first LGBT-owned salon, barbershop and tattoo parlor in the Omaha-Benson area,” Jackson said. “We are different in many ways. But, first, by making history.”
Heavi Hitters may very well be distinctive for its notable growth; within three years, the business had outpaced available space and expanded into a larger shop at 6570 Maple St.
“My last shop was a step in my growth,” Jackson said. “I also had a business partner. This new shop is all mine and my wife’s.”
To better understand this journey, we go back a few decades, to when Jackson was kid.
“I have been cutting hair since I can remember,” she said. “At the age of 14, I started to gain clientele.”
Ultimately, Jackson earned her barber’s license and landed in the former shop, which was then owned by an entrepreneur who lived outside of the state.
“I started to rent my space from him summer of 2019,” Jackson explained. “He and the owner of the building had a falling out and their contract ended abruptly.”
It was the building owner who approached Jackson with an offer to lease the space. Since then, the business has evolved into a new and expanded shop.
“I wanted more for my family,” she said. “I got married and became more invested in my future, goals and life in general. I have always been a person who chooses growth over stagnation.”
Building a Shop and Community
This growth is embodied in more than the square footage of
“In my shop now we offer multiple services,” Jackson stated. “We have four licensed barbers, one licensed cosmetologist and a licensed tattoo artist.”
Its offerings, she said, range from locs, haircuts, braids, twists, natural hair care, barbering, silk pressing, extensions and wig installs, to makeup, facials and tattoos.
“All are licensed, professional and everyone works with every single hair texture — no matter the curl pattern or permed, relaxed or naturally straight hair,” Jackson added.
In addition to the range of services that are now provided by Heavi Hitters, its approach to services also packs a punch.
“We offer care,” she said. “We house a community of professionals who care about your hair, skin, well-being and cleanliness. We prioritize being on time, making sure our space is family-friendly … and providing a secure space with consistent services.”
Jackson also indicated that as passionate as the team is about careers and delivering on the client experience, they are equally passionate about community values and giving back. This is far more than lip service.
Local media coverage from this spring featured Jackson’s commitment to the community through providing free haircuts to homeless shelters.
“I started giving haircuts, free, when I was 15 years old, starting with family, of course, following that, the homeless shelter has and will always have a special place in my heart,” she explained. “I volunteer there at least once a year and I have done this for over five years. Back-to-school programs are always a part of our give-backs.”
Additionally, Jackson said 2023 marks the second year of Heavi Hitters working with Change of Omaha, a nonprofit focused on eliminating race-based discrimination, revitalizing the community, eradicating food deserts (and food insecurity), and uniting to fight against injustice.
The Heavy Lifting Pays Off
Thus far, the approach to creating community in the shop and outside of its walls appears to be working.
“Every single client has loved the space entirely,” Jackson stated. “I still feel like I’m dreaming at times. It has been a swarm of support. It’s almost overwhelming. The most beautiful thing is that we can honestly say we are truly doing what we love.”
In fact, team members spoke to the sisterhood and family within Heavi Hitters, as well as the creation of a safe space for all clients – no matter their background.
Jackson also acknowledged the support that she has received spiritually and from her wife and family, as well as resources such as Nebraska Enterprise Fund, which specializes, by way of its site, in investing in the “underserved small and micro business owner.”
She indicated NEF has been helpful for funding, as well as for financial growth and support in general.
When asked for words of wisdom to share with other Black women who may be forging their own paths in respective industries and businesses, Jackson enthusiastically encouraged them to, “Go for it. Reach out. Network. Don’t you ever think it’s too big – the dream, the business, the support or the success – it’s for you!”
“Besides, women who create history are far from perfect,” she said. “So, why try to be? We support you. And the support may not be next door, but it’s definitely around the corner.”
As for Jackson, she is once again choosing growth over stagnation.
“My goals are to expand, collaborate and grow in the community,” she said. “I am considering expanding in the career of teaching and hosting events, speaking and continuing to grow within the field of beauty and hair.”
531-772-0578 • 6570 Maple St., Omaha 68104
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