Barber academy coming to Visalia
Planning Commission approves permit for barber school that will offer discount haircuts
By Reggie Ellis
VISALIA – Cosmetology schools such as Milan and Estes have long been a part of Visalia, but now there will be a school for those studying barbery as well.
At its Sept. 10 meeting, the Visalia Planning Commission approved a conditional use permit to operate a barber school at 320 S. Bridge St. East to West Barber Academy will operate out of the 3,700 square foot commercial building from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday.
Owners Wilfredo and Jennifer Olan stated the academy will train “professional licensed barbers who will elevate the craft to a level of excellence that has long been lost all the while giving back to the community and inspiring and motivating our youth and pushing them towards positive directions.”
The Olans will serve as the initial two instructors and will teach classes of up to 20 persons each. The total training for each student is 1,600 hours, which equates to about 10 months of full time enrollment per class session and ultimately lead to students taking their state board exam for licensing.
The total cost of the training and licensing is set at $10,000. The first 200 hours of training will be a classroom and the remaining 1,400 hours will be spent providing discount haircuts, stylings, shaves, and facials in the adjacent clinic. The clinic will be open to the public for discounted haircuts/styling during most school hours. No appointments will be taken and guests will be served on first come basis. Haircuts and other barbering services will be performed by students as part of their curriculum.
In his report, city planner Paul Scheibel stated the academy would bring more professionals into the downtown area and convert a vacant building into economic activity.
“This building has been vacant for at least a year, so I will support staff’s recommendation on this,” said Chairman Brett Taylor.
Commissioners Marvin Hansen and Sarah Peariso both voiced concerns that the academy would not have adequate parking for both students and clients. The academy will need 33 parking spaces to meet city requirements. Staff said there are only 12 on-site parking spaces but there
are numerous public parking spaces in the immediate area that can facilitate the unmet parking needs of this use.
“There is a lot of parking that goes unused in the downtown area,” Scheibel said.
Commissioner Chris Gomez motioned to approve the barber academy’s permit and it was seconded by Peariso. The vote passed 4-0 as Commissioner Liz Wynn was absent.