Mario Tricoci speaking at new beauty school

A New Lafayette Beauty Academy

May 28th, 2013


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Article by Hayleigh Colombo from the Journal and Courier.

With a famed Chicago hair stylist’s name — Mario Tricoci — now aligned with a local cosmetology school, students and clients can expect a few changes to come to the Lafayette academy that’s been teaching future cosmetologists since 1966.

A new curriculum delivered by iPads, a renovated salon and an emphasis on professional development will soon come to what was once Lafayette Beauty Academy. The school, 833 Ferry St., will now be known as the Lafayette campus of the Tricoci University of Beauty Culture, an expanding beauty education provider founded by Tricoci. The company acquired the school this week.

But Tippecanoe School Corp. students won’t get to experience the changes until after they graduate.

The acquisition means the longtime partnership between the entities is over. Students who wish to become cosmetologists will no longer have the option to do vocational training at the academy. Christina and Co. in Lafayette now will be the only option for TSC cosmetology vocational students.

Of the 51 students at the Lafayette campus of Tricoci University, seven are in high school, said Kim Havel, former owner of the academy. Havel is director of compliance for Tricoci University.

The Tricoci University team chose not to offer the vocational program, Havel said, because the school schedule would conflict with the new curriculum.

“We’ve had a great relationship with the schools,” Havel said.

Connie Shoemaker, director of Lafayette Beauty Academy college and career readiness for Jefferson High School, said she is disappointed that vocational students will no longer be able to choose where to study.

“It’s not exactly troublesome for the school, it’s more just an unfortunate thing because I used to always take our students on a field trip so that they could make an informed decision between the two schools,” Shoemaker said. “Some of the students just like the atmosphere better at one place or another and the cost structure was a little different. It was a little cheaper at Lafayette Beauty Academy. We’ve always enjoyed working with them.”

Shoemaker said cosmetology vocational enrollment is down this school year at Jefferson because students are having a hard time with finances. She said the school corporation typically pays $2,500 of each student’s tuition. Tuition at the academy was about $7,500.

Brian Weed, chief executive officer of Tricoci University, said the new tuition rate has not been finalized, but that it will be higher than it is now to factor in the iPads, which every student will receive, and other features of the renovated program. Tricoci University offers full financial aid, and students are eligible for federal Pell grants.

“It’s going to be higher than Lafayette Beauty Academy,” Weed said. “It’s a different approach to the education. We think that will be great for the community. The ultimate customers are the salons and spas that hire graduates. We feel great about the quality that they’re going to be getting.”

Havel said she chose to sell the business to Tricoci University because she wanted to offer Lafayette students a top-notch experience.

“As I met Mario and the team, I felt that they had the same kind of dream and desires as I did,” she said. “With their resources and their knowledge, I just felt like it would take the students to a bigger level.”

Jana Fitzgerald, who founded Lafayette Beauty Academy, said she is excited for its future under the name of Tricoci University.

“I am confident that the new owner … will continue to grow and improve the future professionals,” Fitzgerald said.

Tricoci University has started to expand its reach into Indiana from Chicago, where it was founded in 2004. Weed hopes for more growth.

“We see lots of opportunities within central Indiana,” Weed said. “We think markets like Kokomo and Fort Wayne and South Bend could benefit from a Tricoci University. We have pretty lofty ambitions in terms of where we can take the concept.”

Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed.

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