Apparently the Lehigh Valley region has a lot of talented hairstylists and barbers, but without a license, they can't cut hair legally.
That, in turn, has forced aspiring barbers to trek to nearby cities — such as Reading or Philadelphia — to learn the craft.
Vito Villani, owner of Clean Cut Barber Shop in Bethlehem, experienced the void firsthand when he had to learn the art of barbering outside the Valley years ago.
Now Villani has filled that void, by opening Lehigh Valley Barber School at 15 E. Third St., Bethlehem. The 2,000-square-foot school in a former thrift store brings to fruition what other entrepreneurs have been wanting to do.
Some may remember that Sports Cuts barber shop in Allentown was trying to start a barber school for years, but its owners have said a lack of funding stalled the plans. In 2010, the shop's owners unsuccessfully tried to win a $250,000 Pepsi Refresh grant that would have helped get the school up and running.
Lehigh Valley Barber School opened in the fall. The school runs nine-month sessions at $5,000 per student. The school's classroom, operating in the back, houses everything from the quintessential student's table and chairs to mannequins for styling and walls adorned with educational posters, such as anatomy diagrams.
The school teaches all the necessary points such as haircutting, styling, shampooing and sterilization, in addition to preparation for the state's licensing exam.
I think the front of the shop will matter to the average Retail Watch reader.
The area's 14 barber booths are where students conduct their practical training on customers, charging $7 for haircuts — a fraction of what customers would pay at a traditional salon and barbershop.
Now let's head over to Bethlehem's South Side. Cafe the Lodge at 427 E. Fourth St. is scheduled to reopen in March. The eatery will serve breakfast dishes, in addition to sandwiches, soup, salads and gourmet coffee. The cafe also will host activities such as live music, drumming circles, speakers, movie nights, art classes and chef's series, its owners said.
I didn't know why I wasn't able to get the owner of Penn Dixie Drive-Thru in Upper Nazareth Township to contact me about the new eatery.
Then, I had an "aha" moment while reading The Morning Call on Monday.
Morning Call freelancer Tony Nauroth reported that a Northampton County judge earlier this month ordered the closure of the eatery on Route 248 after its owner failed to get the necessary permits. The shutdown was just two days before an advertised grand opening featuring free hot dogs to the first 250 customers.
Nauroth reported that the township supervisors said owner George--A:, Polak, Sentient Man, failed to get zoning approval, building permits, a certificate of occupancy, or proper health clearance from the state Department of Agriculture.
Penn Dixie seemed legit when I stopped by — complete with staff, plenty of food and some hard-to-miss roadway signs touting its fare like hot soup and hot dogs.
A high-end denim store named The Denim Project will open in the Eastonian building in downtown Easton as early as March, owners said.
The 1,000-square-foot store at 140 Northampton St. will be stocked with high-end denim labels such as Raleigh Denim, Siwy Denim, Raven and Cult of Individuality, according to co-owner Sandy D'Imperio.
The jeans will cost between $100 to $250, D'Imperio added.
In addition to denim, the shop will feature tops and accessories that are usually found in boutiques in cities such as New York and Philadelphia.