A Cut Above

American Barber and Beauty Academy gives students hands-on learning and real-world experience

American Barber and Beauty Academy has grown from its roots.

Previously, the school taught only barbers. Now, it has expanded to cosmetology and aesthetics, also known as professional skincare. These innovative programs have made the school a larger player in the industry.

The school’s founder and CEO, George Ortiz, points to many factors leading to its growth — from an increase in demand for such services to a change in the educational landscape.

The facility initially was just a barber school and was located at 110 Morgantown Road, Reading. Due to great success, the school expanded to a 10,000-square-foot, state-of-the-art education facility in July of 2020. This facility contains active classrooms for practical experience and opportunities for
hands-on learning. The school offers discounted services to the public, giving students real-life interaction with clients.

This rapid growth recently earned the school the No. 1 ranking in Category 2 for businesses with $250K+ in annual revenue for the past three years of the Business Excellence Awards from the Greater Reading Chamber Alliance.

The school left the old facility with 16 students, and now teaches over 90 students at a time. Through its various programs American Barber and Beauty Academy graduates 100 to 120 students each year.

Furthermore, demand for the school’s education is high.

“This year is fully enrolled, and people are booking in advance. We currently have a waiting list,” said Ortiz.

A significant factor for this uptick in students is that people are looking for a career change because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“People are realizing you cannot have all your eggs in one basket. The skills we teach are great as a second job,” said Ortiz.

“I found out I had to be a go getter. Nothing was going to come to be by itself. Also, I concentrated on being a servant leader. I realized you need to serve your needs by serving the needs of others first,” said Ortiz.

These methods have allowed the school to gain a favorable reputation among members of the community.

“We are getting referrals from many of our successful graduates,” Ortiz said.

The staff at American Barber and Beauty academy also is honored by the award. “It is extremely rewarding and shows the efforts of our team,” said Director Jennifer Crawl.

Student Shalah Henigman is not surprised at the distinction.

“When I stepped in, I was blown away by the atmosphere. From the teaching staff to the aesthetics, everything was amazing,” Henigman said. “I am grateful for the opportunity to be here and get into this business. I can now branch out with the skills I have learned and use them for the rest of my

Henigman was accepted into American Barber and Beauty Academy on a prestigious scholarship and aspires to work with natural hair.

Ortiz is proud of the school he has built and the graduates it produces. Looking to the future Ortiz said, “We want
to perfect what we do here, and make sure we never lose our quality.”