RIVERVIEW — When you hear about a new shop that caters to members of fraternities and sororities, you may imagine a place that sells T-shirts and beer taps.
Michelle Bayard's Greek Boutique is not that kind of place.
The Greek Boutique, which opened Aug. 1 at Winthrop Town Centre, carries clothing, jewelry and accessories primarily aimed at fraternity and sorority alumni who are now in the business world.
Instead of T-shirts with the fraternity names emblazoned across the front, customers are more likely to find dress shirts with the fraternity's logo tastefully embroidered on the pocket.
The focus, at least at first, is on the "Divine 9" — the fraternities and sororities with primarily African-American memberships, owner Robyn Bayard said.
"I'm officially licensed to sell that merchandise," she said. "But that doesn't mean I can't sell things from other fraternities and sororities."
Unlike some other Greek-letter organizations, the Divine 9 tend to have active alumni groups. It's mostly members of those groups that Bayard is targeting. But student members of the fraternities and sororities who need business wear for jobs and interviews will also appreciate the store's offerings, she said.
Michelle Bayard's Greek Boutique (Michelle, in case you are wondering, is the middle name of both Robyn Bayard and her daughter Rian) is at 6027 Winthrop Commerce Ave., next to Regions Bank. It's open from noon until 8 p.m. Tuesday through Friday and 10 a.m. until 6 p.m. Saturday. Call (813) 685-4500 or visit the boutique's Facebook page.
Business teaches cosmetology. It took two years of rigorous preparation, largely spent meeting all the exacting requirements for state licensing. Finally, on Aug. 1, Focus 4 Beauty Career Center welcomed its first students.
The school trains students in the arts and business of cosmetology, barbering, nail technology and skin care. The school's courses start with history and theory and take students through practical applications and business skills. When they graduate, students are prepared to take the board exams for their field and get right to work.
All instructors are working professionals in their fields.
One thing that sets Focus 4 Beauty apart from other schools, president Paul Granville said, is that alumni can continue their education indefinitely for free, through weekly workshops that can help keep them up to do date with current trends, styles and techniques.
The courses are designed so that students can enroll anytime and, after a short orientation process, start learning immediately, Granville said. There's no need to wait for the start of a semester.
Half of the school's 4,500-square-foot building is classroom space. The other half is a working salon where students can gain experience. Anyone from the community can come and get salon services at a "greatly reduced" price, Granville said. All services are supervised by a professional.
Focus 4 Beauty Career Center is at 1805 Redman Parkway. Call (813) 752-4247 to get information about education opportunities or salon appointments, or visit focus4beauty.com or the Focus 4 Beauty Career Center Facebook page.
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