In Hastings, coifs and a cause at cut-rate prices

  • Article by: JOY POWELL , Star Tribune
  • Updated: March 15, 2011 - 4:50 PM

The Hastings Beauty School serves students and clients of all ages from Minnesota and Wisconsin. You're invited.

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Students Becca Young, left, and Jaime Hageman worked on women’s hairstyles at the Hastings Beauty School. The school offers the public bargain prices on beauty treatments to give students practical experience in hair styling and skin and nail care.

Photo: Marlin Levison, Star Tribune

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Your chair awaits you.

Students at the Hastings Beauty School, in the renovated Gardner Hotel built in 1884, are inviting the community to come in and see the multi-million-dollar investment by owner Dan Lynch -- and get hair, nail or skin care at bargain prices.

Lynch said beyond "affordable prices in tough economic times," clients also help students to achieve their dreams.

But business has been slow lately, and too often, the students have only each other and mannequins to work on.

"I've always had a passion for doing hair," said Jaime Hageman, 20, of Prescott, Wis. "But we have a lot of students, and we need something to do."

One of two men in a class of 40, he learned at age 3 to braid hair from his grandmother, Pat Hageman, a retired hairdresser who ran the Beauty Nook in Hastings for 38 years.

Now, Jaime Hageman's greatest dream is to work, even just once, on the hair of country music star Taylor Swift. She lives in Nashville, where Hageman intends to move after graduation to get his cosmetology license.

Beauty school students need practice, his grandmother said.

"You need to have people sitting in your chair, doing their hair," she said.

"It's really about going in there and giving these kids the chance for practical experience," she said. "They listen to what you say, and the instructors are always there to guide them. There's very little chance for mistake."

Manager Jeanette Johnson agreed. She's been with the school for 23 years, helping more than 900 students to serve thousands of clients.

"They're safe when they come here," said Johnson of clients who come to the federally accredited school. "We do good work. It does cost less, but the students are supervised. They need customers to work on so they can go out and work in salons."

Joan Dahlgren, 59, of Hastings, was pleased last week with her color touchup and cut for $26, a quarter of the price that she paid at her last salon.

"It's always nice to help the kids when they're starting out in their careers," she said. "They do a great job, and they really take their time. You're almost like, 'C'mon, it's only hair.'"

Twice she's been to the school, and she plans to return.

Dahlgren noted the interesting architecture. It includes an original tin ceiling, massive fireplace and 12-foot oak-framed mirror in the lobby. The three-story building also has 12 apartments on its second and third floors.

Priscilla Diethelm, 62, got her hair colored and cut Thursday on a monthly special: A $6 haircut. "The price point for this economy is absolutely fabulous," she said.

Diethelm, who moved to Hastings a year ago, said she discovered the school after the exterior, with its 19 olive-colored pillars, caught her eye.

"It's a good use of space" in a building that had at times sat empty, she said.

Dahlgren held her head still as student Jess Shequen, 23, of Lake City, clipped wet red hair.

"We're like a family," Shequen said. "And we treat you like family."

A downtown presence

The school opened about 35 years ago. Lynch bought it in 2003, in leased space 50 feet away from the existing location.

Two years later, he bought the Gardner building. It's annexed to another building, the Fitch, also part of the school.

Cosmetology student Serina Lewis, 18, of Cottage Grove, is in a 10-month program, and she said she likes the location of the school near the river. She and other students spend their first two months in the classroom, in their own stations, learning basics and new trends in cuts and colors.

At nearby Berens Jewelers, owner Tony Berens said Lynch has done a good job with the restoration and school.

"It's a big asset to downtown," Behrens said. "Any traffic downtown is good."

Across the street from the school, at the Creative Confectionaire, manager Alysha Blomquist appreciates the business. Students come in to buy shakes in the summer on their lunch hours, and clients buy candy and fudge.

Lynch said the students come from all backgrounds, but a good number are young, single mothers learning a way to provide for their families.

"We appreciate the opportunity to serve the people of the Hastings area," he said, "both in terms of an education and then for those who want... our services."

Joy Powell • 952-882-9017

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  • Student Serina Lewis designed a class project hairstyle with a wig on a mannequin.

  • School owner Dan Lynch observed student Jaime Hageman as he designed a hairstyle on instructor Desiree Juaire.

  • The Hastings Beauty School has brought new life to a building that’s more than 125 years old — the historic Gardner Hotel in downtown Hastings.

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