Apr. 30—After 52 years in Moscow, Mr. Leon's School of Hair Design on Main Street is closing its doors for good in June.
The trade school that trains cosmetologists, nail technicians and cosmetology teachers on the Palouse has been in Lisa Salisbury's family since 1969. Its Lewiston campus closed last year.
In the past five decades, Mr. Leon's "just about employed all the employees in all the salons in Moscow and Pullman and the Lewiston area," Salisbury said.
According to Salisbury, Mr. Leon's was a victim of COVID-19. During the pandemic, student attendance started to drop off, it became more difficult to find instructors and the clinic where students train with customers kept losing business.
"Our school has just never rebounded from COVID, and everything that went on there," she said. "So we just kind of decided that this is probably just a time to close and move on to something else."
Salisbury called the decision bittersweet. Mr. Leon's started when her father, Leon Cover, bought Mr. Nick's Beauty College and changed the business's name. When Cover died in 1996, Salisbury took over ownership.
Salisbury called it an honor to help students learn the trade, pass their Idaho Barber and Cosmetology Services Board exams, get their license and make a living to support their families. She said Mr. Leon's has seen thousands of students graduate over the years.
"It has always been so rewarding to take a student from their first day of school and then to see them graduate and go out and become successful," she said. "There's just a lot of joy in that — in helping people."
Salisbury and her husband, Kurt, are transitioning to real estate and work for Coldwell Banker Tomlinson. She said Mr. Leon's will be closed to customers the first week in June and closed for good June 30.
The building has been sold and will be taken over by Moscow's Vin Wine Bar and Cellar.
Kuipers can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.