Austin’s Beauty College was submerged during the May 2010 Flooding.”Our coming back was never a sure thing,” said Linda Austin of Austin’s Beauty College, Inc as she talked to Clarksville Online on Monday, the night of their official reopening.
It started on April 30th as images of the rising waters appeared on the news. Austin rushed down to the school to remove the records and computer equipment. She said that there wasn’t time to get all of the furniture and equipment out of the building. so she set what remained up as high as she could.
The water came up into the building just over 3′ deep and remained there for 5 days. This resulted in the destruction of the furniture, the washing chairs, the blow dryers, and so much more. When the water went down and they got into the business Linda Austin found a nightmare of chaos; mud was everywhere, furniture was upset, and debris was everywhere.
Like many business owners affected by the flooding Austin lays much of the blame at the hands of the government and the traditional news media. “We wish better information could have been provided to us in a more timely manner” she said. “This would have allowed us to be more prepared for the scope of the flooding.”
At first she thought that it would take about two weeks to clean up the business, but as time passed, two weeks became four months. “If I had known then that it would take this long get the business reopened, I would have just closed!” she said.
Her landlords received a lot of credit from her for their assistance in getting the building repaired after the flooding. “They came in with two big box fans, we had one blowing into the building, and one at the other end blowing out. This helped a lot. They also quickly took care of getting the damaged walls replaced.” she said.
For assistance, Austin first went to FEMA but found the unwritten rule was that if your business had made money, or you had the ability to raise money; then there was no help available for you. Luckily she had the local community to fall back on. She received help with the cleanup from many volunteers, ranging from friends and students, U.S. Army volunteers, to Montgomery County Sheriff’s Department with a hand from some of their inmates.
Reconstruction was not cheap, during the cleanup process the Beauty College went from being debt free, to over $40,000 in debt. Most of the cost went to replacing the furniture and equipment. “I became very good at discount furniture shopping, and I am still unpacking everything” she said.
About Austin’s Beauty College, Inc.
Austin’s Beauty College was the first Beauty School in Clarksville, TN. J.T. Austin and his wife Linda purchased the business in 1972 from Ray Red when it was located at what was then the Montgomery Wards Plaza. In 1990 they relocated to the Riverside Center where they remain to this day.
Austin’s Beauty College offers an advanced curriculum featuring the Pivot point system which focuses not just on the technical side of beauty, but on the artistry of making hair, skin, and nails look their best. The Austin’s Beauty College is accredited by The National Accrediting Commission of Cosmetology Arts and Sciences (NACCAS).
Currently 16 students have enrolled since the school reopened for the current term. The school averages 50-80 students pear year. A newly enrolled student can graduate in as little as 9 months if they devote their full time to the program.
Most of the beauty school students found employment locally following their graduation. In fact in 2008 100% of their Cosmetology, 100% of their Aesthetics , and 50% of their Instructor students received their licenses. 100% of their cosmetology, 75% of the Aesthetics, and 100% of their instructor students found employment in their field of study.
For more information about becoming a student at Austin’s Beauty College contact the school at (931) 647-6543.