Huron Valley Beauty Academy has moved from its former location in Ann Arbor to a spot in the Country Creek Village Plaza at 7025 E. Michigan Ave., Suite A, in the Saline area.
The beauty academy offers classes to South and West Washtenaw Consortium (SWWC) students from Manchester, Milan, Chelsea, Dexter, the Lincoln School District, and Saline during a morning session, while students from the Ann Arbor Public Schools take classes there in the afternoon.
The program was started in the mid-1980s when public school officials decided they could run a cosmetology program rather than contracting with a private beauty school.
Students from the participating districts much apply for a spot in the beauty academy and go through interviews. Lisa Kohl, instructor and manager at the academy, said that they look for self-motivated students with good attendance. She said that many kids who have just average grades in a traditional academic setting do much better in the hands-on environment of the beauty academy.
“If you put these kids in an environment where they excel, it’s like night and day, and they’ll get straight A’s,” she said. She noted that some of her students had gone on to own their own business or do makeup and hair for theater and movies.
Students enter the program as juniors and learn the theory behind cosmetology, working on mannequin heads. They take a test late in their junior year to be qualified to work on real people. All the students giving haircuts and manicures on the shop floor are seniors with a year of theory and practice under their belts.
The beauty school was run out of the Washtenaw Intermediate School District building for many years, but the ISD building was running out of space and asked the cosmetology school to find a new home by the end of the 2016-2017 school year.
Kohl said that they searched in Ann Arbor, Milan, and Dexter, but it was important that the location chosen be along a bus route, and the Ann Arbor Transit Authority has a stop right out front of the Country Creek Village Plaza.
Kohl said that the ISD building was “tucked away” and people didn't tend to find it unless they were looking for it, so having a location right off Michigan Avenue is exciting. The academy began taking appointments the first week in February.
“I think it’s going to be a great opportunity to be here with prominent signage and lots of foot traffic, and I think we’re going to be much busier,” she said.
The academy’s salon offers all traditional beauty salon services, from haircuts and perms to skin and nail care. Prices start as low as $6.50 for a regular manicure or $7.50 for a haircut and range up into the $30-35 range for specialty perms or color treatments.
The salon is open to the public from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. Wednesday through Friday. For more information, call 734-470-6536.