Avalon Beauty School coming to Worthington

WORTHINGTON -- When Kim Schroeder first entered the cosmetology field, she had some aspirations beyond learning to cut hair and do nails. "I always wanted to teach," Kim said. "It was one of my goals when I was going to cosmetology school. I want...

WORTHINGTON -- When Kim Schroeder first entered the cosmetology field, she had some aspirations beyond learning to cut hair and do nails.

"I always wanted to teach," Kim said. "It was one of my goals when I was going to cosmetology school. I wanted to manage a salon, then own a salon, then start a school."

For Kim, the final part of that dream will come true when she and her husband, Todd, open Avalon Beauty Academy in January 2007 at 1428 N. McMillan St. Schroeder currently owns and operates Urban Edge Salon, a one-woman salon on Oxford Street and hopes to sell that business.

A building to house the school is currently being constructed by Johnson Builders and Realtors, which will own the building and lease it to the school. But before diving into the project, the Schroeders thoroughly researched the need for such a school and sought financing and support from the community through First State Bank Southwest, Worthington Regional Economic Development Corp. and the Southwest Initiative Foundation.

"I sent to every beauty school around to get information," Kim explained. "I went to Web sites and actually visited a couple of schools. I got a lot of information. I did a lot of research on the need (for a cosmetology school), found different statistics, visited with people from the state. There is definitely a need for it."


Cosmetology schools are regulated through the Minnesota Board of Barbers and Cosmetology. In order to be a cosmetology instructor, Kim had to go back to school herself.

"I had to go the Twin Cities and take a course and pass three different tests," she explained. "Those licenses are on the way."

Kim has selected a curriculum, which also had to be approved by the state, along with a syllabus of exactly what will be taught at Avalon Beauty Academy and how many hours will be devoted to each area of instruction. The state requires cosmetologists to complete 1,550 hours of study, so Avalon will offer a 10-month course. New sessions will begin every three months.

Ten students have already applied and been accepted for the initial Avalon session, which will begin right after the first of the year. Schroeder said the school can accommodate up to 40 students, but she's pleased to already have 10 students, since their initial goal was to have five students by the time the school opened. The students who have already enrolled come from the southwest Minnesota and northwest Iowa area and range in age from recent high school graduates to non-traditional students who are seeking a new career.

Besides Schroeder, one other instructor has been hired, and the need for more instructors will depend on the number of students who enroll. The state requires two instructors for the first one through 20 students, with another instructor for each additional 10 students.

"There will be two big classrooms in the back with a salon in the front," explained Kim about the Avalon facility, which will encompass 3,400 square feet. "For the first eight weeks, the students will be in the classroom, learning theory, then they will be able to go out on the salon floor and do practical work. So that's when the public comes in."

Clients will be able to receive salon services, including a full range of hair care, pedicures, manicures, facials and waxing, at a discounted price since they will be provided by students in training. The students will be strictly supervised and advised by the schools instructors. Products will also be offered at a discount, Kim added.

As construction proceeds on the school, the Schroeders are taking an active role in the design of the facility, picking out the materials and colors that will be utilized. The site of the school, which is located just off Oxford Street, was suggested by Johnson Builders and Realtors because of its access and visibility.


"We didn't want to have to build new, but we couldn't find anything," that would work for the school, Kim said. "Johnsons have been just great to work with. They said it's going to go up very fast, you'll see a lot of changes quickly."

There are still a lot of details to be sorted out before the school will be ready to open, but Schroeder is looking forward to the first day of class and training others to appreciate her profession. She wants to work closely with area salons to ensure placement of the Avalon students and to fill the area's need for more cosmetologists.

"I want the students to get a really good education, and I want them to be great hair stylists," she said. "There are so many opportunities out there ... so many things they can do. We want to teach them not only about hair, skin and nails, but about selling products and selling themselves."

However much she's looking forward to the new venture, Kim also knows it's going to be hard to leave Urban Edge Salon and its customers behind.

"I have the best clientele," she said. "You see these people once a month for years, and you really get close to them. I will definitely miss my customers. They have been so good to me."

Anyone interested in becoming an Avalon Beauty Academy student and receiving an application can contact Kim, (507) 360-8341.

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