Debra and Al Harris: Welcome the new owners of the Sam Brown Cosmetology and Barber Institute

Updated: Nov 22, 2019

As of 11 am today, Debra and Al Harris become the proud owners of the Sam Brown Cosmetology and Barber Institute, in Columbia, MO! Won't he do it!!!

Common Excellence Coaching has been working to support Debra and Al Harris for the past 6 years, and it has been our absolute honor and privilege.

Debra and Al Harris have owned and operated  A Cut Above The Rest, a local Hair Salon in the Columbia, MO area for the last 25 years.

In June of 2019, she did an interview for a local magazine, called the CoMo magazine , and in that interview, they asked her what does she see herself doing in the future, and she prophetically said that she would love to own a cosmetology school someday.  She was thinking within the next 4-5 years, but really it was just wishful thinking.  

In late August of 2019, Sam Brown, owner of the Sam Brown Cosmetology and Barber Institute called her and said that he would like to sell his school to her and offered her an exclusive offer to purchase and run the school!  Wow!  She was floored and honored. But OMG this was a huge deal and a lot for them to consider. They consulted, she got confirmation and made the decision to do everything in their power to make it happen.

She had already been working diligently to raise her credit to 750-800 over the past few years in order to purchase a home, continue to be an outstanding citizen, entrepreneur, and leader in the community, so she felt that it had prepared her to be in the position to capitalize on this opportunity at this time in her life.

She had worked with a few local resources and organizations but she didn't receive the follow-through, the sense of urgency and the level of innovation that she was required in order to make sure that this deal happened.

On September 4th, 2019, our Founder, Tyree Byndom, and Debra Harris sat down for lunch to catch up and started a discussion about an opportunity that she was faced with. We created a global vision for her brand, we created her pitch, refined her business plan, and started working together to crowdsource, bootstrap and raise the funds needed.

To make a long story short, her team has been scrambled for 2 months straight to raise the funds, from family and friends, sharing with the community and pitching to all organizations that offer resources and we have had some great success but we got told no over 100 times. Some organizations that we thought would assist us, like REDI, the Sharp End Fund by Jim Whitt, the City, the Chamber, the United Way, and the VU Foundation all told us NO! 

From September 13th to the 16th we met with over 10 financial institutions and asked them would they commit to creating a long term relationship and really commit to being a compassionate lender, working not just with them as owners, but all of the students to come through their businesses and movement in the future. There was also a catch. We had to do it all within one month! Many of them laughed at us, told us no without a valid reason, and offered terms that only a novice would accept. We mentioned to them over and over again, that we weren't merely seeking a loan, but a relationship, based on empathy, compassion, and good old fashioned trust and loyalty. Debra's own bank for over 5 years showed absolutely no compassion, and she closed her account and switched over to her new bank shortly after we started the process. The winners by far were Eric Morrison, Kit Stolen and their team at the 5th Street Providence Bank, won our business by leaps and bounds over every other bank in town.

After all of this, Debra had to prepare all of the meticulous paperwork, honed her pitch and mastered the metrics of her business, took charge of the evolution of her industry, and deal with challenge after challenge, as well as go in front of the State Board on November 16th to get the final approval and permission to finalize the deal. The communication that was needed with all of the team, the allies and partners was a thing of beauty to watch.

This school is a turn-key business that has been established since 2006, with an excellent reputation, and with positive cash flow. There are (2) instructors and a receptionist on staff that will continue with the school. Debra and Sam worked hard to learn the in's and out's of the new business, transfer everything over, transfer the students over administratively and completed the deal. Not they will get trained as Instructors and continue to serve the local community with much more impact.

But the work is not quite over. YOU can still help to water and nurture this movement.

We are asking that governments, institutions, organizations, foundations and/or cities seeking to enhance their Cosmetology industry, consider sponsorship of students ($6k each), and we will work with them to start their own salon or barbershop in those cities, after their graduation.

This is an opportunity to help the youth in our community to be productive and to get into a highly lucrative trade that is a multi-billion dollar industry and growing.

Why Having A Barbering Program in CoMo is So Important

The main thing that we need to do now is to raise an additional $30,000, in order to give Debra and Al Harris enough emergency funding to scale up their brand and bring the FIRST Barbering school to Columbia, MO, to allow an additional 50 students a year to enter this industry in the Central Missouri region, and to also make sure that we give these new students all of the tools, resources, and education that we had to discover along the way.  

We need your help to chip in and help us to make this happen.  We believe that this is a blessing and favor from God and that it will allow us to bless others in this area and focus on extending our commitment and passion to beautify individuals, their families and be engaged members of the community. 

So whether you invest or donate $5, $20, $100, $1,000 or more, we will appreciate it and it all counts.  

Click on this link to Donate and Congratulate them during this time of celebration for our team. Also, feel free to go to Providence Bank on 5th Street to make a donation in person.

If you need help with your business, project, mission or movement, please let us know.


Located in Columbia, MO 65201 #SharpEnd

Tel: (573) 424-6323


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