Scott Sharkey feels blessed.
His Sharkey’s Cuts for Kids hair salon — with nearly 100 locations, and dozens more franchises in the works — will soon be the largest of its kind in the world.
The Westport location — right here in his home town — is #1, by both revenue and number of haircuts.
A second business — Hair Genie lice treatment centers — fared less well during the pandemic. “No one got lice when no was touching anyone else,” Sharkey notes.
But as America reopens, it too is coming back,
Now Sharkey has embarked on a third venture: challah.
The braided bread that’s integral to Jewish Shabbat — and is beloved by non-Jews too — may seem a world away from haircuts and lice. But, says Sharkey, the idea germinated for nearly a decade.
He’s long been perplexed that despite Birthright’s inspiring program — the non-profit offers free trips to Israel for Jewish young adults between 18 and 32 — there is no follow-up. “Everyone just goes back to their daily lives,” he says.
Sharkey wanted a way to keep Birthright participants connected to their religious roots.
Meanwhile, last summer — while renting a house in Southampton — he longed for a bit of “home” every Friday night. But there was no way to deliver challah from Westport.
Spurred by friends, and urged on by Westport rabbis, he spent August investigating a challah delivery service.
“It’s easier launching a kids’ franchise than a challah business,” he says. But in March, Every Home Should Have a Challah shipped its first bread.
The idea is for anyone who wants challah to have it on a Friday night. The tie-in with Birthright: Sharkey’s goal is for every traveler to have a challah delivery once a month, until they get married.
Bread is baked in New York on Monday. It’s trucked straight from the oven to Westport. There — at the UPS store opposite Stop & Shop — Sharkey and his crew packs it for overnight or 2nd-day delivery. It’s in customers’ hands on Thursday. And in their mouths on Friday.
Most challah is the traditional egg variety. Occasionally, there are surprise challahs.
Each package also includes black-and-white cookies or rugelach, chocolate gelt, candles, and a “dose of inspiration.”
Subscriptions can be ordered for 18, 36 or 54 weeks; the delivery address can be changed any time. A one-week trial is also available.
Grandparents are among the most grateful customers. Every Home Should Have a Challah sends packages everywhere in the US — including places like dorm rooms and nursing homes.
Synagogues are customers too. Some send challah to all their congregants.
Sharkey donates a portion of each challah subscription to a charity of the customer’s choice. A dropdown menu offers a dozen or so options, like ADL, Doctors Without Boders, Feeding America, Red Cross, Save the Children, St. Jude’s Hospital, Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Fund and UJA Federation.
“It’s just bread,” Sharkey says. “But the magic of challah is incredible.”
(For more information, and to order, click here.)