WATERVILLE — Empire Beauty School is closing its Waterville location, one of six the national chain is shuttering because of declining enrollment.

The cosmetology school, which enrolls 28 students at the 251 Kennedy Memorial Drive location, will close June 30, according to Angela Watson, director of public and media relations for Empire Beauty Schools. The company is based in Pottsville, Pennsylvania, and has about 100 locations nationwide.

It employs six people in Waterville. A total of six schools are closing around the country, but the Waterville location is the only one in Maine, Watson said.

“Students were told yesterday,” Watson said Tuesday morning. “It is due strictly to enrollment numbers.”

“Enrollment numbers for post-secondary education are trending downwards across the U.S., cosmetology programs included. Unfortunately, our Waterville campus has been impacted with lower enrollment numbers, so we’re going to be closing down that location.”

Students, who come from both the Waterville and Augusta areas, have the option of continuing their studies at other Empire Beauty locations in Maine, which include Bangor, Caribou and Portland. If they want to go to a different beauty school to finish their studies, the company will give them a pro-rated refund on tuition, Watson said.


“Anywhere in Maine that’s an Empire school they could transfer, no problem,” Watson said.

The 1,500-hour cosmetology program takes about a year for a full-time student to complete. It prepares students for an examination offered by the state’s cosmetology board to get a cosmetology license. Tuition costs $18,175.

The company is working with employees on a case-by-case basis to determine whether they can be relocated to another school. Some also will get severance pay, Watson said.

The Waterville school has been in Shaw’s Plaza for several years.

“It was a school we acquired from a different company, but we bought it years ago and it’s remained open and viable,” Watson said. “But in the last couple of years, enrollments have declined. Our enrollments have been down across the board at many of our locations — not all of them, but many. Waterville was one where the numbers were just too low to warrant keeping the school open.”

Rachel Ohm — 612-2368

[email protected]

Twitter: @rachel_ohm

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