JONESBORO, AR (KAIT) - In spite of many jobs and small businesses going by the wayside, the hair business is thriving.
Beauty salons, barbershops are moving into empty strip malls or stores and doing well. What makes this business grow even in these hard times?
"This is a recession proof occupation that you can go in to and make a decent honest living." says barber Ramon Crumpler.
The Northeast Arkansas Barber School on Gee street has only been open since the 20th of December.
Student Tracy Smith is from Kennett and for his second career he is choosing his first interest.
"I was employed for an electric cooperative for over 20 years and had a job change and I decided to pursue a career that I had been interested in for the past 35 years." Smith says that when he finishes the course and gets his license he already has a couple of barbers in Kennett that want him to work with them.
I needed a trim so I decided to let Tracy and his instructor Tony Davis have at me. Davis says the hair business has always been steady during his career.
Davis, "Everybody needs a haircut. Just like being in a doctors office or a dentist or anything else. Most people get 1 or 2 haircuts about every 3 months."
Davis said you can make a career and a pretty good living as a barber.
Davis, "Most of your barbers stay in business, they hardly ever fall out of business. They either retire or something may happen to them with an emergency or physical ailment."
Smith feels confident in his success in his second career choice.
"Styles may change but they are always going to need a haircut. Might be different than what you're accustomed to cutting but it will always need cut."
Across Jonesboro Ramon Crumpler was giving a trim at the Cuttin-Up Barber and Beauty Salon off of Church Street. A 16 year veteran hair-cutter, Crumpler says his hair cut prices aren't unreasonable but he says he has to stay competitive.
"The cost of business rises so I try to make sure that my costs are consummate with the economy. The hair business is a nice steady income. I been in the business for 16 years now and the drop-off hasn't been much of a drop off. It's been just kind of steady if not increasing the whole time I been in business."
Crumpler says economically speaking this business has always appealed to him.
"Hair won't ever stop growing and there's always new events and things going so I think that this business is going to be needed till the end of time."
The New York Times says the number of barber licenses have nearly doubled since the 80's. The program at the NEA Barber School takes about nine months and costs about 7 thousand dollars. However Davis says that there is a shortage of barbers in Arkansas and that now is a good time to get into the business.
Both the Cutin-Up Hair and Beauty Salon and the NEA Barber School are open Tuesday through Saturday.
For appointments or information about the barber school you can call 870-935-1596 or 870-252-3535.