Northeast Philly beauty schools focus on demand, not competition

Northeast Philadelphia already features two well-known academies with Jean Madeline Aveda Institute located at 7248 Frankford Ave. and Empire Beauty School at 4026 Woodhaven Rd.

But in the next few weeks, there will be a new academy ready to compete at 9902 E. Roosevelt Blvd., called Toni&Guy Hairdressing Academy

Toni&Guy is expected to open sometime this month. A specific date has yet to be determined. Northeast campus owner, Jackie Jopling, said she likes the location for the first Toni&Guy Academy in Philadelphia.

“This spot gives us the space and parking lot for our expected enrollment,” Jopling said.  “Visibility helps, too.”

The other schools said they have no problem with the competition and feel that their locations in the Northeast do very well. Angela Watson, director of public and media relations at Empire, said the school’ campus in the Northeast is one of its best.

“Despite other schools being in the area, we have not seen a drop in our enrollment,” Watson said. “We have nine schools in the Philadelphia region and the Northeast campus is one of the growing sectors in our economy.”

Jean Madeline in Mayfair continues a long tradition of beauty schooling in the neighborhood.

“There’s been a beauty school at that location for the past 40 years that same spot,” said Stan Gordon, consultant for Jean Madeline. “It’s a wonderful location and we do a very nice job there.”

People at Jean Madeline are in talks to have its Frankford Avenue campus possibly relocate to a site near Woodhaven Road, but nothing is serious as of now.

“I don’t know if we are relocating,” Gordon said. “It’s just conversation. We have a very nice business [on Frankford Avenue], so we may not relocate. Nothing is written in stone.”

Empire students Ashley Eibell, 19; and Sedina Miles, 43; said they both hope to one day open their own salons and picked Empire for the diversity and staff.

“Everyone gets along here,” Eibell said. “I didn’t feel it at the Warminster location.”

“There’s a great diversity of people,” said Miles of the Northeast Empire campus. “The teachers, the clients, the attitude is much more creative.”

Jopling said she believes in Toni&Guy’s world class education and 50 years of worldwide salon achievement.

“We are the only school that has a deep history of salon success,” Jopling said. “Our worldwide salon success allows us to offer a unique education.  By contrast, Aveda is more product-oriented.”

But Jean Madeline and Empire don’t see Toni&Guy’s existence as a problem.

“We have schools that are within a fairly close range of each other right now and it really isn’t a problem right now,” Watson said. “With our curriculum and culture,we have never felt we have much competition just because another school opens up down the road.”

Gordon said he is happy that the schools are doing well and knows that they have to move with the demographics.

“I think it’s wonderful that the school are prospering and doing well,” he said. “I think it’s a trend for beauty schools today. You move where the action is.”

Steven Mitchell is a student reporting for Philadelphia Neighborhoods, the publication of Temple University’s Multimedia Urban Reporting Lab.


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