Lice Happens Opens Its Doors in Annapolis
Being a new full-time employee at What’s Up? Magazine has its perks. One of them is the unpredictability of what may be coming my way when I walk through the door each day.
Having mostly a sports writing background, this story was delivered to me as a curveball.
Needless to say I was itching to cover it.
In a world where the bug and parasite population never decreases to our level of satisfaction, we all still want to find new techniques to eradicate them.
Nancy Fields and M.J. Eckert have found a way to help.
Motivated by a case of lice that struck her twin sister, niece and nephew four years ago, Fields branched out and aimed to seek solutions to prevent this from happening to others.
Fields, who was working at a software company at the time, and Eckert, her neighbor and a nurse at The Key School, began using their lunch hours to head home and treat customers.
“I had encountered lice many times,” Eckert said. “So when Nancy said ‘My sister’s dealing with this and her kids are missing school.’ I said ‘I can help you. I know how to do it.’ And the idea was born.”
Fields was laid off and Eckert eventually quit her job as a nurse. That made the decision to pursue this full-time opportunity easier. From there, they have turned Lice Happens into a strong enterprise. The company employs 15 people and provides customers with in-home visits. Employees arrive at the homes in unmarked vehicles to help keep the confidentiality of the situation.
Using a method that involves eliminating the parasites that keep them in business, Fields jokingly admits to the quandary their service puts them in with each successful visit. “We’re putting ourselves out of business one family at a time,” she said.
All kidding aside, Fields believes that knowledge and prevention are two of the most important keys to the methodology.
“We developed a process that is effective,” she said. “We go to people’s homes. We screen family members. We treat those that are affected and we educate and train them so that they can be empowered in the future to actually be ahead of the curve to prevent infestations that are out of their control.”
Their education efforts and entrepreneurial spirit culminated into a full-time business that officially opened its doors last week on Forest Drive. The company is now offering national franchises. Fields and Eckert celebrated with a ribbon-cutting ceremony on February 13th attended by Mayor Josh Cohen and Lara Fritts of the Economic Development Corporation.
“This is a great story where you have someone who started up a shop literally in their kitchen,” Cohen said. “It was successful. They grew it over four years to the point where they’re willing to open up a bricks and mortar location and in the meantime, they’ve also been expanding up and down the Atlantic seaboard. This is more than just a regional-based operation. This is their national headquarters right here in Annapolis.”
Fields says that there are many fallacies about lice that the company tries to debunk with each family Lice Happens treats.
“There is so much misunderstanding about head lice,” Fields added. “There’s still the idea that it has to do with either a dirty house or dirty children. There’s a lot of embarrassment and stigmas surrounding it. That’s what we’re trying to combat with our community outreach program as well as the education per family.”
“It’s not just about getting rid of lice for that one day,” Cohen said. “You need to get rid of the eggs and all that stuff. It’s important for families, particularly families with kids who may have lice that they can access professionals who can help them take care of it. People get lice regardless of how sanitary their habits are, regardless of their socioeconomic status.”
For more information, visit www.licehappens.com or call their 24-Hour LiceLine at 443-510-4480.
Written by Jake Russell