Veteran Sussex County barber Chester Hope is opening the Pro Cutz School of Barbering in Lewes. He said the plan is to have the first class begin in February.
“There just aren’t that many licensed barbers in Sussex County,” Hope said during an interview Nov. 27, adding the closest school to learn the trade is in Dover.
He said he’s opening the school with seven students and will offer three different programs – barbering, master barbering and barber instructor. He said the slots will be filled on a first-come, first-served basis.
Hope, a licensed barber, said in addition to students, he is looking for instructors to teach the course. He said students are required to complete 1,500 hours of class time, starting first on mannequins and then eventually working on people.
Hope has been barbering for 27 years, beginning in Rhode Island before moving back to Delaware to work in Millsboro, Milton and now outside Lewes at Pro Cutz Sports Barbershop, which he opened in May 2016.
“It’s my love,” he said of the craft.
Hope said barbering is a skilled labor occupation that doesn’t get much respect. The way he sees it, he said, barbers are a part of everyone’s life.
“If a person wants to get a job, go on a date, attend a funeral, or look good for school, they’re going to go see their barber,” he said. “For any social event, your barber makes you look good.”
Over the decades, Hope said, the skills required of barbers have changed. Hope said when he first started, black barbers tended to cut the hair of black customers, and white barbers cut the hair of white customers. He said about 15 years ago, he noticed that dynamic changing. For today’s barbers, he said, being able to cut both types of hair is important.
Tuition is $7,500 and there’s a $1,600 deposit to secure a spot. Hope said there’s a $100 enrollment fee, and $1,500 gets a barber’s kit and school book. The kit includes clippers, a cape and other tools necessary for the job. He said there will be in-house financing.
Hope said when students complete the course, they will have to pass a written test and a cutting test to get licensed through the state. He said the service is provided by Professional Credential Services, which can be found at pcshq.com.
Hope said he has thoughts of expanding the school into cosmetology.
For more information, email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 302-313-4100. The school will be located at Hope’s Pro Cutz Sports Barbershop, 12001 Old Vine Blvd., Suite 104, Lewes.