Owning your own business, being your own boss, setting your own hours. That’s the American dream. So when someone achieves that dream it is cause for celebration. Today we celebrate Rhondea Engleman.
Engleman is the new owner of the Razor Kreationz Barber Shop on 9th Street in downtown Gothenburg. She purchased the shop from Torey Walker just a few weeks ago and has been excitedly preparing for the grand opening of her new shop, Unleashed Beauty.
“I have wanted to be a hairdresser since I was in high school. I want to help people feel beautiful about themselves because that is something I have always struggled with myself,” Engleman explained.
A graduate of Cozad High School, Engleman became a mom shortly after graduating. She spent the next several years working various jobs and raising two daughters. It was when she was pregnant with her third daughter that she decided to make the leap and go to Joseph’s School of Beauty.
“I had somebody ask me, ‘What do you want to do with your life?’ I said I want to be a hairstylist. But it’s just not in the cards for me - I’ve got kids. And they said, ‘Who said?’ So I went to beauty school,” said Engleman.
She was living in Lexington at the time and commuting to Kearney for classes. But a tragedy shortly after her youngest daughter was born put a hold on her schooling.
“It was supposed to be a 14-month program that I turned into three years. I had my child, then my daughter was shaken when she was 3-months old so I had to quit school to help rehabilitate her for the next year,” Engleman shared. “Then I went back. She is doing good. She still has a traumatic brain injury, but she is doing really well.”
As a single mom of three daughters, medical issues with her youngest, and trying to go back to school - Engleman had a lot on her plate. “I don’t know if I would have gotten where I am today without my mother. She helped me so much.”
After getting her degree from Joseph’s, Engleman went to work for Cost Cutters for several years in various locations around the state. “It was a good company to work for. My time there had just ended,” she said.
Four years ago she made the transition to Shabby Chic in North Platte, a job she said she also really enjoyed. But the pandemic took a toll on services such as hair styling. “When salons did open back up I didn’t go back to doing hair right away because I felt I needed to be with the girls. It is and always has been all about them,” she said. “But I still recommend people to Shabby Chic - it’s a beautiful place and they are a great group of girls.”
Now married to a man she describes as “my best friend”, Engleman said she feels like her life has come together. David also brought a daughter to the marriage. “They are like the missing pieces that just completed this family,” she said.
Engleman said she has known Torey Walker since she moved to Gothenburg, and her friend came through for her in a big way a few years ago. “I did a Haircuts From the Heart benefit a few years ago to help out with flood victims, and she reached out to me to help with that - and I’m so glad she did because the turnout was just huge. I could have never done it by myself. She is just an awesome person,” said Engleman. “A few weeks ago she decided that she wanted to focus more on her nursing career and not do hair anymore, so she asked if I wanted to buy the salon. I asked my husband and without hesitation he said yes - it’s been a dream of yours forever. If you have this opportunity you need to do it.”
Engleman closed the deal on the purchase of the shop on March 17 and has been busy painting and revamping. “Torey had a great shop and it was beautiful, so it’s not like I am fixing things - I just want to make it my own,” she said. Her goal is to be open on April 2. “I am so excited!”
Torey plans to stay in the shop with Engleman until the end of May. Engleman’s plan is to be in the shop from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. nearly every day, and said walk-ins are welcome. She said she is also willing to schedule appointments at nearly any time of day that works best for the client’s schedule. To make an appointment at Unleashed Beauty you can reach Engleman at 529-8976.
“If I leave anything behind, I want my kids to know that I worked extremely hard for them to show them that no matter what you can achieve anything you set your mind to.”