Jeanie Groh column: Rowan-Cabarrus’ cosmetology program helps students and is affordable

Published 12:00 am Thursday, August 20, 2015

Ever since I’ve had a sparkly new addition to my left ring finger, a lot of people have been looking at my hands. Each time someone new grabs my hand or asks to see my engagement ring, I grimace a little bit knowing that my nails are a mess.

I’ve never been one to consistently have manicured nails. I have a lot of excuses: I seldom have time, and it’s just too expensive for me to justify – especially because at least one nail always seems to chip by the time I get home. Home manicures are out for me too, because my fingers are physically too shaky to paint my own.

My experiences in nail salons have been few and far between. They haven’t been bad, but they really haven’t been good, either.

I’ve never really felt l was a valued customer.

After publishing several releases from Rowan-Cabarrus Community College about its new cosmetology center in Kannapolis, I decided to see (and experience) it for myself.

First of all, I was astonished at how big the building is. The 28,000-square-foot space used to be a Belk and a towel store. The ground floor has a room for pedicures, a room for manicures and a large room filled with hair styling stations. Upstairs is an additional area where first year students practice techniques on mannequins.

While I was there, I met two students: Amber Yost and Brooke James, both of Salisbury. Yost did my nails, while James did my friend’s.

Although I admit that I haven’t had a lot of manicures in my life, I will say that by far, it was the most pleasant experience I’ve ever had. The quality is just as good as what I’ve experienced in the past, as well (if not better).

The four of us spent about 30 minutes chatting and getting to know each other while Yost and James worked on our nails. Yost talked about her sweet little boys, and James talked about her siblings. We all talked about gray hair fears and hair dye jobs gone right and wrong.

Yost started her career in photography. Eventually, however, she said it became more of a chore and less of an art expression, so she decided to look for something new to do. She worked in a bank for several years, but after her son was born, she decided to go back to school.

She considered going into accounting or business, to continue in the field she’d been working in for several years, but she couldn’t fight the urge to be in a field where she could be creative. And that is why she decided to enroll in Rowan-Cabarrus’ cosmetology program.

James, 20, is days away from completing her time at Rowan-Cabarrus. She plans to complete an internship at a local salon, and then eventually branch out on her own. She said that one day, she hopes to have her own salon.

Time spent in Rowan-Cabarus’ cosmetology clinic is vital for the college’s cosmetology students. In order to sit for the North Carolina State Board of Cosmetic Arts exam, they must have successfully completed a certain number of hours in a supervised environment. Students get the hands-on experience they need styling hair, giving manicures and pedicures and administering facials.

What’s the benefit for patrons, you may ask. Excellent service with a price you really can’t beat.

For less than a venti Mocha Coconut Frappucino from Starbucks, I walked out of there with a beautiful manicure. There’s also the satisfaction of knowing that you’re helping a local student reach their career goals.

A basic manicure runs at $6, while pedicures and gel manicures are both $15. A haircut, shampoo and blow dry is $12, and a relaxer is only $30. Lip and brow waxing both cost $5. Specialty esthetic services will be available this fall and are slightly more expensive due to the products used.

The clinic is open Tuesday through Friday from 8:30 a.m. until 2 p.m., with select evening hours Tuesday through Thursday. Esthetics and nail care are a little bit more limited. Daytime hours are between 11 a.m. and 2 p.m. on Wednesdays, Thursdays and Fridays, and Tuesday and Thursday evenings from 5:30 until 7:30 p.m.

The Kannapolis Cosmetology Center is located at 120 West Avenue in Kannapolis, near the research campus.

For more information about services, pricing or hours of service, visit

Disclaimer: I paid for the services I received at Rowan-Cabarrus Community College’s cosmetology center.