EARLY — The Ranger School of Cosmetology welcomed the public to its new facility in Early during its grand opening Friday.

Ranger College Brownwood Center Vice President Dayna Prochaska reported record traffic to the new cosmetology school since relocating from downtown Brownwood to Early, crediting the increased foot traffic to its more visiable location along Early Boulevard.

“It’s been great. Mr. Gee, who is the owner of the building has been great working with us,” Prochaska said. “He put in a lot of work making this building look exactly how we needed it to look and be functional for our students. It feels so good to be in here. We actually opened up on the 22nd and on that day we generated more revenue in one day than we did in a single day in the history of Ranger College.”

Friday’s grand opening concluded a process that began last September, when Early City Administrator Tony Aaron announced the school’s planned relocation. In October, the city assisted Ranger College with a 50-50 matching $15,000 municipal development grant. The funds provided by the city purchased signage as well as plumbing infrastructure and fixtures.  Aaron said the grant often goes to small businesses via improvements to infrastructure, façade, parking lots and signage so that it makes both the business and city more aesthetically pleasing in the process.

“We feel like it’s a real service to the community … [The city] has been very supportive,” Prochaska said. “We came in and asked for a grant to make this building suitable for a cosmetology program and the supported us with that. It’s been very easy working with them. They have been very accommodating. We have a bright future and we’re looking forward to the program growing.”

One of the beneficiaries of the foot traffic has been the Ranger College School of Cosmetology students, who provide haircuts, manicures, facials and a variety of other beauty-related services at a reduced cost while training. Summer Hamm, who will finish the program following the spring semester, said she feels the new facility provides an environment similar to those she will experience in at professional salons and believes it will impact her in the near future.

“I was part of the old one. The shampoo bowls are way better,” Hamm said. “With the new location, it’s easier to get to. It’s easy access and better parking compared to downtown. There are a lot of great things in downtown, but it’s more restrictive to our older clients … I’ve been busy everyday. I may get a 5-minute break. In this new building, there is more of a salon feel, a salon style. It gives you sense of how it’s going to be.”

While the students are taking notice of the new surroundings so are the clients. For sixth-grade Coggin Intermediate School student Kamrin McAfee, who was among the first in line for free manicures and pedicures Friday as part of the grand opening, she has been coming to Ranger for years.

“Every since I moved to Brownwood, I’ve been coming to Ranger College … They did a good job,” McAfee said.