A heart for people

COVID-19’s impact on Bethany Beauty College has been mixed

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Debbie Stucker, owner of Bethany Beauty College, 3900 N. Peniel in Bethany, sprays a shampoo bowl. (Photo by Carol Mowdy Bond)

By Carol Mowdy Bond
Contributing Writer

COVID-19’s impact on the Bethany Beauty College, 3900 N. Peniel in Bethany, has been mixed, said owner Debbie Stucker.

Stucker said, “The pandemic slowed down the clientele part of our business, but we’ve increased in student enrollment. People have been out of work and now they’re off of unemployment. They need jobs.”

Stucker, who has owned the business for about 13 years, has actually worked in the beauty school for about 30 years. “Both my parents owned their own businesses,” Stucker said.

“Juanita ‘Sue’ Smoot was the owner and she was my mom. When she retired, then I took the business. Sue wasn’t the first owner of the school. She got into this to be able to provide women a way to support their families. When she started this, women didn’t really get out and work. We hope to continue to provide an avenue for women and men to provide for themselves and their families. We’re hoping to continue Sue’s tradition.”

“The school offers full-time and part-time classes during the day and evening, so we can accommodate a lot of students,” Stucker said. “Right now we have about 80 students. The State Board of Cosmetology sets our guidelines, and they are our licensing agent. We have about six instructors, plus other staff. Half of the staff have been in this business over 30 years. I couldn’t do it without my staff. They’re great. We have a great teaching team. We’re very fortunate and blessed.”

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Courses are available in cosmetology, skin care, and nail technician, and they have an instructor’s course. “We’re working on offering barbering,” said Stucker. The school offers a scholarship program, and financing, as well as job placement assistance.

“Right now, our student ages range from 16 to in their 60s,” Stucker said. “Students take classes in anatomy, chemistry, and electricity. They have to learn the basics of a lot of general sciences. Plus they learn hands on about chemicals for coloring hair, etc. We work with a lot of chemicals and a lot of things we have to be knowledgeable of, and with the pandemic, we have to know about infection control.”

It takes about nine months for a student to complete the hair career classes, and the other careers require a minimum of four months.

For students studying to work with hair, they begin by working on the hair of mannequins.

They also work on other students. Then students work on clients. “We’re very fortunate to have the clientele that comes in,” Stucker said. “And we have some regular clientele.”
Stucker, who was born and raised in Bethany and attended Putnam City schools, said the school was established in the early 1970s. When her mom, Sue Smoot, bought the school, Smucker said, “Sue believed it’s not just about this work. It’s also using your passion and ministry to help so many people. Hopefully we’re fulfilling her legacy in that. That was the heart of what she did.”

Connect with Bethany Beauty College at (405) 789-0881, or on Facebook at Bethany Beauty College, or on the web at http://www.bethanybeautycollege.com.