You won’t find many businesses like the one Ahwatukee lawyer Denise Aguilar and her fiance just opened.
She and Joel Griffin last week opened Heads Up Helmets, a company dedicated to the reconditioning and recertification of football helmets.
The company plays into Griffin’s long involvement in football training – and his keen awareness of players having the best possible protection against concussions and other head injuries on the grill.
âWith the impact of contact sports, helmets and shoulder pads, as well as other sports equipment, can deteriorate over time,â he says on the company’s website, helmetsheads.com. âCracks and wear can compromise the integrity of the equipment and therefore the safety of the athlete. “
Griffin has coached youth league football since 1998, served as interim president of Maricopa Youth Football from 2000 to 2014, co-founded the Desert Storm football tournament, and coached at Mountain Pointe High School since 2014.
Several years ago he, Aguilar, a criminal defense attorney, “started thinking about something we could do in addition to our careers that would generate additional income to allow us to travel more, but it was always something we loved, âshe said.
“Due to Joe’s involvement in the football community, and because we are both football fanatics, we thought something in this area would be perfect,” she added.
Their target market is large.
They eye youth football leagues as well as high school, college, semi-professional and even professional teams.
The activity involves inspecting helmets and all of the hardware and liners attached to them, replacing faulty parts, testing them with special equipment that the couple were trained to use last year. Plus, they clean and disinfect helmets, then sand and repaint them.
âInitially we looked at simple painting or hydraulic immersion helmets for youth football teams, but when we started researching the idea we found that the responsibility would be too great to just paint and return a helmet to the field without giving one. the assurance that it is safe to play, âadded Aguilar.
After speaking with the National Athletic Equipment Reconditioner Association, they discovered that the job “certainly wasn’t as easy as painting helmets in the garage.”
âWe had to overcome a lot of hurdles to get here, but two years later here we are with 6,000 square feet of space and a full operation,â she said, noting Griffin quit a job there. he occupied for 17 years to devote all his time to the business.
There’s no shortage of work, Aguilar said.
âIn Arizona, football is played most of the year, so we are fortunate to have business from teams that play the regular fall season, as well as club leagues that play in the spring,â a- she explained. âAs we grow we would like to expand into leagues and high school football programs out of state, but for now we are focusing on our football community in Arizona.â
âWe know that maintaining equipment can be costly for leagues and teams, so we want to make sure we are providing the best service at reasonable prices,â she added. âIt’s important to us that the kids are as safe as possible on the pitch, and to that end, we want to make sure that each league regularly recertifies their equipment. “
Aguilar believes she and Griffin are in a good position because âthere aren’t a lot of facilities in the country that are allowed to recertify helmets. “
Most of their marketing is done face to face, and with Griffin being in various leagues and teams for so long, his contact list is long.
They also run community outreach programs, such as the ‘Cleat Repeat’ program which encourages players to donate football cleats that they have outgrown so that a child who may not be able to afford it. to afford a new pair of crampons each season can always have a pair that suits him. .
âFootball can get really expensive with registration fees, uniforms, fundraising efforts, and you’d be surprised how many kids on the field wearing shoes that don’t quite fit them. We will take the donations, clean them and disinfect them, give them new laces and give them to the children who can use them, âAguilar said.
But Aguilar said she discovered one thing pretty quickly because they were busy:
âIronically, I don’t think we could take the time to take the trip we wanted anytime soon. “
Information: Heads Up Helmets, 590 N. 54th St., Chandler. 480-759-7599.