Barber finds dream in Denver after big move

Want to know the difference between businesses in the U.S. and the former Soviet Union? Ask Semion Kikirov.

Kikirov grew up in the former Soviet Union and survived two civil wars in what is now Tajikistan. His family came to the U.S. in 1999 when he was 18, and he said he had no idea what to expect.

“It was like a knockout, you are like in the woods with no compass. You don’t know where to go and what to feel,” he said.

But Kikirov found his way and kept pursuing the family business of being a barber. He now owns a thriving business with his brother, Roman. The two opened Semion Barbershop at 5th Avenue and Lincoln Street in 2011.

Roman said that being a barber is mandatory in his family, and even though he has a master’s degree in accounting from the University of Colorado Denver, he still finds time to cut hair now and then. Mostly, though, he gets to apply his degree to managing the books.

“I think this was the best thing ever to learn about different facets of business,” Roman, 25, said.

Roman and Semion agreed they would have never had the ability to open a business in their native country.

Semion got his start in New York, but quickly moved to Colorado in 2001 with his family. He spent several years at Floyd’s Barbershop before deciding to get out of the corporate world and pursue his own vision.

Several of his employees came with him.

“He can relate, we are all in the same industry, he understands and can be a good boss,” barber Christina Wunderlich said.

Semion said his motto is “a barbershop for all,” and his goal is treat everyone the same. His clients range in age from 6 months to 99 years old and he sees roughly 20 people per day.

“You always feel comfortable, my boys love seeing him. He’s friendly, he’s quick and he does a great job,” customer Scott Burns said.

Semion Barbershop almost never came to be, if not for the efforts of Semion and Roman’s sister, Bella.

Roman said she was the drive behind wanting to start a business, but she passed away in 2011, a few months before the shop could open.

“When she passed, I didn’t want to do it. I thought I failed,” Semion said. “All of her dreams became my dreams too. It is my job to make sure it can happen. I want to make sure she knows that I actually did it.”

The shop is dedicated to Bella’s memory, and Semion said her influence is all over the business. But there’s a lot of Semion and Roman there too.

“I’m a simple guy who works a lot of hours and has a dream to change the industry or bring the soul back to the way it should be done,” Semion said.

Joe Vaccarelli: 303-954-2396, or