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About The Dalles chronicle. (The Dalles, OR) 1998-2020 | View Entire Issue (March 14, 2020)
A2 Weekend of March 14-15, 2020
S P E C I A L
S E C T I O N
in the company of excellence
training for the
opens doors of opportunity
For The Dalles Chronicle
Students work with instructors on providing salon services to customers at
Gorge Academy of Cosmetology
Jim Drake photo
Since opening, Weed said she constantly received
calls from people seeking out massage therapy training
opportunities. In 2019 Weed wrote up a curriculum and
With hard work and enthusiasm, Gorge Academy
applied to the Oregon Board of Massage Therapy.
of Cosmetology owner Kerri Weed is going three
“We got approved and we have been developing a
years strong on providing opportunities for students
program; it’s really exciting,” Weed said.
interested in learning about careers in beauty.
The first enrollment opportunity started in February
“We are here to increase the professionalism in the
of this year.
beauty industry. Hairdressers, nail technicians and
With family roots in The Dalles, Weed’s 16 years of
estheticians are all listed in the top 20 best careers to
experience working for the Paul Mitchell Systems hair
have without a college degree,” Weed said.
care company as a marketing specialist put her in direct
The academy provides professional instruction and a
contact with salons and schools throughout the coun-
real-life teaching salon environment for hair design, es- try. Now, she has brought her expertise to help students
thetics, nail technology and barbering in downtown The experience the education and training that is needed to
Dalles. With more than 20 students currently enrolled,
be successful in the beauty field.
completion of a particular program can give students
“This is where my passion is; I love this industry,”
the state-required hours of work and training needed for Weed said.
taking state licensing exams.
Besides being involved in developing all the programs
“There’s so much freedom and flexibility and reward
at the academy, Weed said that she was hands-on with
in this industry. You can go anywhere in the world with some of the construction that went into renovating the
a license in your pocket. You can open your own
historic downtown building.
business, you can travel, you can even work on the
“The building is on the historic registry. When we
Hollywood runways. The sky’s the limit,” Weed said.
bought it we needed 100 percent new electrical,
Now, after three years, Weed says the academy is
plumbing, and then we realized the downstairs space
expanding into massage therapy training.
wasn’t up to code. I worked with Adams Construction
and brainstormed how to make the downstairs space
usable,” Weed said.
Now, the academy’s esthetics room is downstairs,
along with individual booths for the massage therapy
program. Repurposed handrails lead the way to a
student lounge, a conference room and storage lockers.
“We took the old electrical conduit out and I cleaned
it up and rehabbed it,” Weed said.
Even some of the old tongue and groove wood used
for trim and shelving upstairs came from the family
farm; an example of Weed’s commitment to reusing and
recycling as much as possible.
Weed said it took many long hours to write the
business plan and a lot of persistence to get bank
funding to start the academy.
“Bankers asked me why I wanted to start a beauty
school in a rural area. It didn’t come to fruition until a
local banker actually went home and talked to his wife,
and he learned about how important the connection
was that people develop with their hairdresser, and the
impact on the economy it had,” Weed said.
The academy now provides jobs for seven instructors,
and frequently brings in guest artists to teach more
Mark Gunter, Owner
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