Cosmetology program serves clients for 30 years

Home Features Cosmetology program serves clients for 30 years

Shelley Austin

Published: Tuesday, August 5, 2008

At 20,000 square feet, it’s the second largest salon in all of Northwest Florida. It caters to more than 100 customers a week and continues to grow its clientele simply from word of mouth. It’s not your typical hair salon. All services are done by students.

For more than 30 years customers have entrusted themselves to PJC cosmetology students for low-cost manicures, pedicures, waxes, and hairstyles. Today there are about 4,000 customers in the salon’s database, according to Larry Gardner, department head of professional service careers.

“Fifteen-thousand people came last year,” Gardner said. “Because the students do such good work, we have a lot of repeat business.”

Gardner said that customers are not allowed to request a particular student hairstylist so that they won’t get attached to the student or vice versa. As a result, clients return to the PJC salon even after a particular student has left or graduated.

Although the salon is open Monday through Friday from 8:15 a.m. to 4:15 p.m., the cosmetology students take their first customer at 8:30 a.m. and their last at 3 p.m. according to Elaine Keating, professional service careers program technician.

“I would say our public clientele probably gets treated better here than they do in the salons,” she said. “Our students take time with them, and they do it the way they’re supposed to do.”

Keating is not the only one who says that customers are treated well. Shirley Poole, 56, has been a patron for three years and describes the service as fantastic.

“The service is good and the people are good and friendly,” Poole said. “I’ve just about had everything— hair cut and all,” she said.

Poole found out about the college’s salon through a friend and has referred a couple of friends herself. She also urges others to come and not to be hesitant to have a service done by students.

“They’re under the teacher’s supervision, and the teachers are really good about walking around and checking on what the students are doing,” she said.

Every service that is completed by a student is acknowledged and signed off by an instructor, according to Gardner.

“[The students] are in school 1200 hours, and every hour is documented,” he said.

Melinda Wiggins, 45, found out about the salon from her husband. Students in training do not concern her.

The students “are going out to work in salons pretty soon anyway so they’re qualified,” she said.

The college’s salon prices are lower. While most salons charge around $40 for color, $50 for perms, $13 for hair-cuts, and $8 for facial waxes, PJC’s salon charges around $15 for color, $30 for perms,  $5 for hair-cuts and $3 for facial waxes.

“We don’t push money, but it saves money for students and for clients as well when you compare those services to what is charged in the salons,” Gardner said.

The salon is in building 12 on the east side of the business building on College Boulevard. The salon’s price list can be picked up in building 12 at the front desk Monday through Friday 8:15 a.m. to 4:15 p.m.

The PJC cosmetology program trains and turns out some of the best cosmetologists in Pensacola, according to Keating.

“We’ve really got some talented students and they’re willing to go the extra mile. “When in doubt, try it,” she said.

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