When Separate Equals Hungry

A 2-part feature exploring food insecurity.

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The Spa with All the Swag

Photo Credit:
Photo by Mila K Marshall

The American spa industry estimates that nearly 90% of spa owners and 70% of spa managers are white and overwhelmingly female. In that regard Sharon and Lamant Campbell are unsung heroes changing access to services for a deeply underserved population as owners of Hiz Men Spa (4041 W 115th St.) in Alsip, IL; an upscale nail salon catering to the needs of the modern man. Walking into the space there is an immediate calm. Hues of black and bold yet simple decor create an ambience that invites rest, something Black men surely don’t get enough of.

Neither come from the beauty or spa industry, but both are certain of one thing, Black bodies deserve the utmost care and Black men’s bodies deserve to be cared for with luxury and class. Their boutique salon has a range of manicure and pedicure services that appeal to the senses. Sharon brings out the bourbon foot scrub that is just the right amount of sweet for a man’s feet, “it just smells so good,” she whispers, taking it all in. The couple is quite fun loving and share how it all began.

“I went to get a pedicure, shared Lamant and I was sitting there getting my service and a woman was seated next to me and I noticed just how uncomfortable I got. It was so noticeable that she said I looked tense, and she was right.”
When he told his partner his brilliant idea to start a spa that catered to men Sharon was intrigued. “I started doing some research and realized even after all these years of me getting my nails done, I had never thought about where men get serviced or that they felt uncomfortable coming into a nail salon,” she said.

The Campbells are spot-on with how men feel about getting grooming services,”some of the guys come in and see the space and how we treat them and work with them it  takes the nervousness away. There are men who have never had a pedicure. A lot of our clients come because their partner or a woman in their life has made an appointment for them so often, they don’t even know what to expect. But our nail techs educate them on what is happening and that helps take some of that nervousness away,” she attested.

“I thought what would a man like… when I go to the nail shop I’m looking to relax and I’m aware of how it smells and how it looks and that it’s calming,” Sharon says. Lamant agrees that his wife literally thought of every comfort a man would or could enjoy as he points to the pedicure station fully equipped with personal headphones to the client’s television and even a complimentary cocktail. This spa is absolutely swagged out and fly. Lamant smiles and says, “and we have a patio in the back where customers can smoke a cigar or maybe take a call.” It truly feels like a home away from home and it's not uncommon for the spa to be booked for fellas bachelor parties or just some time with their friends, the space is accommodating especially with services like bourbon and beer infused pedicures.

Alsip is an escape for some of their customers, the Campbells admit. While they are a few minutes outside of Chicago they wanted to have an area, their clients felt safe and could truly for at least an hour unwind from the hustle and bustle of city living. The couple is looking at opening a location in the West Loop but is passionate about making sure Black men get the care they need. “Nails and skin tell a lot about your health, so we don’t just do grooming, we really do help our customers understand if their bodies are telling them something is  going on inside that may need attention,” said Sharon.

Women are welcomed in the space, but Sharon is clear about the services they provide, “yes women are absolutely welcomed at Hiz Men Spa,” she shared, but ladies there is no polish service at this spa, yet the services are top notch, nonetheless. As for Lamant, he is in business with his best friend. Sharon not only listened to her partner ,but made sure other men have a chance to be listened to, cared for, and protected from fingertips to toes.

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About Author:

Dr. Mila Marshall is an environmental professional and journalist with a passion for advancing sustainability in all sectors. Her passion is directed towards urban food systems in segregated cities.



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