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Cheap cuts keep Ogden students in business

Ogden-weber tech gives customers deals, experience to learners

By Nancy Van Valkenburg

Published: Monday, July 23 2012 11:10 p.m. MDT

Instructor Martinez, right, helps Josh Berneman recently at the Ogden-Weber Applied Technology College in Ogden.

Associated Press

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OGDEN (AP) — If it's $2 Tuesdays at Ogden-Weber Tech, the chairs are full in the student-staffed barber shop.

"I would have paid $40 or $50 to get haircuts for my boys somewhere else," said Rita Enslow, a frugal North Ogden mom. "I feel pretty good about paying $8."

The shop inside the cosmetology building is open weekdays, but on Tuesdays, the usual $4 fee is slashed in half.

"People like to get it for $2 if they can, so a lot of them wait for Tuesdays," said Spence Talbot, the program's lead cosmetology and barbering instructor. "Most of the customers are men, but we have a few kids from the community who ride up on their bicycles every few weeks, with $2, sometimes in nickels and dimes. They want to get their hair cut and look nice."

The school's barbershop gave nearly 2,000 haircuts last year, Talbot said. The shop benefits not only the community, but also the students whose work is closely supervised by Talbot and master barber Fred Martinez.

"It helps the students work on their speed while maintaining the quality of their work," Martinez said. "It gives students the feel of working someplace that takes walk-ins. It helps them increase their speed, which will help their income after they graduate."

A barbering student who is close to completing the required 1,000 hours of training should be able to give two to four basic haircuts an hour, Martinez said. Tipping is welcome, Martinez pointed out. For a basic cut, most tip a dollar or two, he said.

Talbot said barbering is making a comeback as more men seek pampering in a male setting, and as more balding baby boomers decide to shave their heads. Beard shaves are becoming more popular, he said, and they also cost $2 (half price) on Tuesdays. The student barbers don't color hair, Talbot said, but the Ogden campus barber shop shares a building with student stylists in the cosmetology program, who have coloring expertise. The cosmetology students also offer services at affordable prices, including a haircut and styling for $6.

All students in the barbering program learn basic skills in the classroom, mastering the effective use of scissors, then clippers, and the best angles at which to hold hair for cutting so the style falls perfectly. Martinez watches his students work in the student shop, offering quiet guidance and advice. No client leaves without having the cut checked by Martinez.

"Fred's probably the best teacher in the state," said barbering student Vent Abercrombie, 30, of Clinton, who hopes to open his own shop. "He's well-known around town."

Abercrombie said he loves Tuesdays.

"They're my favorite, they're so busy," he said. "They're a great chance to work on your skills, your communication and your people skills."

Student barber John Edwards, 26, who graduates this month, said cutting hair is his calling.

"I like to change the way people look and make them feel good about themselves," the Ogden man said. "This school has a great program. Every day, you learn something new."

Student Roderick Walker, 45, also has entrepreneurial aspirations.

"I always liked the creativity of cutting hair, and I wanted to start a business for my kids. And this program is an excellent deal for the customers," Walker said. "In a real barbershop, there's no expert who checks the barber's work. They just stand you up and set you on your way."

Ian Clark, 21, of Willard is a returning client.

"I've been here three or four times," he said. "You can't beat a $2 haircut, and it's cool that they have teachers here if they need them."

And Enslow's four boys (a fifth stayed home) seemed pleased with their cuts.

"They were afraid if they got $2 haircuts they would look like $2 haircuts," Enslow said. "But everyone looks great."

Adam, 8, said he loved his short cut. John, 7, said his style was cool, and he liked the spikes. Ryan, 13, was still in the chair, but his mom said his thick, curly hair looked great. And Alex, 18, who got his hair short on the sides but left waves on top, said Ogden-Weber Tech haircuts were clearly superior to the other frugal alternative: haircuts by mom.

"She cuts it short," he said. "One time, she gave me a military cut and everybody thought I was joining the Marines. Here, they just do what you say, and you leave looking good."

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