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School launching barber careers
• Cutting Edge offers barber placement in Ceres
Ceres barbers
Barber Zach Barnum of Ceres is a believer in the new Cutting Edge Barber Academy, saying it’s opened doors for him. Here he is seen here cutting the hair of Eddie Felix of Ceres at First Impression shop on Third Street. - photo by Jeff Benziger

Zach Barnum of Ceres felt his job as a delivery man with Domino’s Pizza was going nowhere. He was talked into learning the trade of barbering at a new barber school and for three years now he’s been cutting hair in Ceres and making a lot more money than before.

“The very first day I came here I made what I made at Domino’s in two weeks,” said Barnum. “I’m happy I did that.”

Carlos Maldonado enrolled in the Cutting Edge Barber Academy at 425 Maze Boulevard in Modesto and his life has impressed because of it. What makes his school unique is that students who do well and become certified to become barbers can enter the trade through affiliated shops, two of which are in Ceres.

Besides showing techniques of barbering, Maldonado said his school teaches students how to get a license. The process takes about a year and costs between $7,500 and $7,800.

“What’s different about us is that afterwards, if you’re on the right track, if you were a great student, if you have the potential, we also offer job placement with the sister branches, the First Impressions of Ceres, and you can get your career started,” said Maldonado. “We’re the only school that’s connecting with other barber shops that are owned by the same people.”

Maldonado owns First Impressions shops at 2928 Third Street and a new one at 1821 Mitchell Road; and one at 345 West F Street, Oakdale.

Another student now cutting hair in Ceres is Omar Chavez, who was born and raised in Ceres. He said any barber should be a “people person.”

“You have to be patient,” Chavez said. “You’ve got to be communicative, you have to be able to talk. You’re going to see every different walk of life coming through here and you’ve just got to relate.”

Chavez said he got into barbering after finding that he detested his other jobs. He decided to leave a job with Tesla paying $20 per hour but he couldn’t stand the long commute.

“Here you make your own hours. If you want to start at 8 and work until 8 you can do that but you’ll definitely make more than $20 an hour because if you figure you do one haircut in an hour, the minimum haircut is $25. Actually I would say this is better, especially for me because I’ve got kids that go to school here and now I’m able to go pick them up. I do my scheduling on my app. You can leave here whenever you want – you’re your own boss.”

The First Impressions shop on Third has seven barbers.

Walk-in customers are accepted with barbers assigned on a rotation basis.