The Barber Institute and owner Morris Wilder plan to open the doors at 1642 Shelby Drive to the school’s first students early next year. Wilder recently received an Inner City Economic Development (ICED) loan to renovate the 3,400-s.f. former CK’s Coffee Shop building that he purchased earlier this year.
The institute will be the only hair service school in the Whitehaven-Millbranch area.
“I just love the business and the longevity of it,” said Wilder, who has worked as a barber for 23 years and has owned his own shop, Trimmers Barber Shop & Style in Memphis for the past 18 years. “Some of the new generation barbers coming in look at the business like a hustle, and I want to put the integrity back into the business and the profession.”
The Economic Development Finance Committee (EDGE) Finance Committee approved the $25,000 loan in early July. The money will be used for interior renovations and improvements, creation of a 30-seat instructional classroom, and hiring of two new employees.
Wilder will split his time between his two businesses, but he expects to focus more of his time on the new college in the coming months. His goal is to offer economical hair services to the community and train future stylists for a lucrative career. Students will also be able to obtain their General Education Development degree.
EDGE has now approved 30 projects encompassing more than 140 jobs and $8.2 million in total capital investment since launching the ICED Loan Program in 2014. The goal of the program is to spark revitalization of Memphis inner-city neighborhood business districts through small forgivable loans that help business owners with signage, building improvements and business expansion.
The ICED Loan program is one of several offered by EDGE to generate jobs, revenue and community investment. Approved EDGE projects are projected to create and retain 10,000 jobs with $2.4 billion of new investment, $874 million for annual wages, $313 million of contracts for MWBEs/LOSBs and nearly $827 million in tax revenue for Memphis and Shelby County.