Michael Elliott
Hammer & Nails founder Michael Elliott (Courtesy of Hammer & Nails)

At Hammer & Nails, it’s nothing but a man thing.

At least that’s what the owners of the grooming shop for men have created at the Maryland-based business that offers hand and foot care, haircuts and shaves in what’s billed as a man cave nirvana.

“Hammer & Nails is a shop for guy’s and men love their man caves, so we felt that building an atmosphere where guys could feel like it was designed and built for them would be a successful shop,” said co-owner Bart Butler. “Men for years have tired of going to female-centric shops to get hand and foot grooming. Where now we have our own shop designed and built just for us guys.”

The shop’s founder, Michael Elliott, helped kick things in motion when he appeared on the hit TV show “Shark Tank.”

He sought a $200,000 investment for a 20 percent stake, but the sharks rejected him.
In a later profile by Forbes Magazine, it was noted that Elliott, who wrote screenplays for movies including “Brown Sugar” and “Just Wright,” raised the money anyway.

The first Hammer & Nails shop opened in 2013 in Los Angeles.

“The show was and is huge for us as we get a lot of name recognition because of it and since they are still showing the episode we continue to get brand awareness from it,” Butler said.

From the time customers walk in the door, the custom-designed scented candles are said to give off great aromas and clients also are greeted by the unique design from the shop’s lighting to its car-door light fixtures and televisions that are encased inside mirrors located in the barbering area.

“We focus on service and our staff is trained to make this about an experience, not just services being delivered,” Butler said.

An added attraction is the shop’s complimentary premium cocktails, and its hand-and-foot area where each guy has his own 43″ flat-screen TV, Bose noise-canceling headphones and remote control in a low-light atmosphere where they are tended to by an all-female staff.

The shop also has nail technicians who are trained in wellness so that they are able to routinely alert clients of any medical issues they should have looked at.

Butler said he’d been looking at a similar business model and when his wife received an email about H&N, he began “completing her every sentence and we knew it was the one.”

“Within one day I was on the phone with the vice president of franchise development and within one week we had a conference call with [Elliott],” he said. “Two months after my visit, we closed the deal to purchase development rights to develop 10 franchises in Maryland.”

Butler said the name Hammer & Nails certainly has a meaning.

“Nails, that’s pretty obvious because we are the only male-centric shop that does hand and foot grooming for guys along with barbering services and old-fashioned straight razor shaves,” he said, noting that on Tuesdays, they offer a public safety promotion which gives a 10 percent discount to veterans, teachers, police officers and medical and fire personnel.

“The Hammer signifies the tough as nails part which sets up the whole man-cave nirvana,” Butler said. “There’s truly nothing like it in the region and our clients have raved about us so far.”

Stacy M. Brown is a senior writer for The Washington Informer and the senior national correspondent for the Black Press of America. Stacy has more than 25 years of journalism experience and has authored...

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