Juut moves training academy to new Uptown space

UPTOWN — The recently expanded Juut Salonspa is the new starting point for the beauty chain’s up-and-coming stylists, color specialists, estheticians and massage therapists.

The two-story business at Lake and Hennepin doubled in size a couple months ago after taking over the former Financial Freedom Realty sales center and Cold Stone Creamery spaces next door.

Juut used to offer cosmetic and beauty products only on the first floor and salon services upstairs. The new space still has the upstairs salon, but it now combines retail and salon services on a spacious main floor complete with huge windows along Lake and Hennepin.

Through the expanse of glass, passersby can see the most significant change to the Uptown salon snipping, styling — and learning. They are the students of Juut’s New Artists Academy, its training program that moved to the Uptown spot from Roseville at the end of October.

“This location is really good for new talent because there’s a lot of vibrancy,” said Juut master generalist and instructor Deborah Camasta, whose title means she does both hair cutting and coloring. “Students have the opportunity to try different techniques, and you can literally find inspiration from people on the street.”

Students in Juut’s academy are trained for 30 weeks, starting on mannequins and eventually working on models, who pay $5 to have whatever a class is working on done to them, and actual clients, who can get services at a reduced rate.

Aside from instructors, only four of Juut’s fully trained artists are still working at the Uptown location, said Andi Tarte, the academy’s dean of education. Most of the others have moved to the salon’s new Southdale location and eventually the four remaining employees will follow, making students the sole service providers at the Uptown Juut.

When their training is complete, students will be placed at one of the company’s six other metro locations.

Anyone looking for salon services can make an appointment or walk into the Uptown Juut just as they would at any other salon, except on Tuesdays. On that day, classes work on a particular technique either on models or mannequins depending on where they are in the program.

“Every week, they’re focused on something different,” Tarte said.

The academy welcomes walk-ins on Tuesdays if models are needed, but only if they’re willing to be subjects of the day’s lesson. Tarte said Uptown’s diverse, edgy population makes finding models easy, even if students have to go out on the street and ask people to volunteer.

Beth Anderson, the salon’s guest services manager, said Uptown’s foot traffic is taking more notice of the new Juut. Because the old space only had retail on the first floor, some people didn’t realize there was a salon and spa upstairs, she said. It used to be quiet, but not anymore.

“I love the windows, how open it is and how alive it is,” Anderson said.

Juut student David Morrison, who volunteered to be a model for a hair-coloring technique called balayage on a recent Tuesday when a snowstorm was pummeling the streets outside, said Uptown’s atmosphere makes it a fun place to work and he loves how “loud” the new building is.

Painted white with blue trim, the building’s new look hasn’t appealed to everyone, such as Uptown historian Thatcher Imboden, who co-authored a book about the area and runs website www.ouruptown.com.

“It’s a bit surprising to see a beauty company choose the colors it did,” he said.

Tarte said she’s received mixed reviews from the community about the color scheme, but she defends it.

“The intent was to create a space that was really vibrant inside and out,” she said. “That’s why we chose the blue and white exterior. We want people to start noticing the Uptown area again.”

Tarte said Juut recently went to neighboring businesses with information about the company, the academy and the new space, including an explanation of the paint. She’s hoping the new Juut and its budding professionals become a welcomed part of the Uptown community.

“Each week, we get more and more guests,” she said. “People are discovering who we are.”

Reach Jake Weyer at 436-4367 or [email protected]