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MSU SBDC assists in opening of business

Beauty School ribbon cuttingWith help from Morehead State University's Small Business Development Center, Appalachian Beauty School, which opened in South Williamson, Kentucky, in 1977, has a new owner and new home.

Open in the late 1970s by Buna Hunt, the business has grown exponentially since its founding. During the past couple decades, the school has been owned and operated by Deborah Johnson. Its mission is to prepare students to successfully pass the written and practical state board exam, obtain licensure and become assets to their communities by means of gainful employment.

Amber McCracken worked in the cosmetology field for several years. She completed the cosmetology instructors program in 2016 and began teaching full-time. McCracken had heard of Johnson’s rumored retirement and reached out to her about taking over ownership of the school in August 2016. It was an instant friendship and plans began for McCracken to purchase Appalachian Beauty School.

McCracken first met with management consultant Michelle Spriggs with the Morehead State University Small Business Development Center in Pikeville in September 2016. Spriggs provided financial analysis services, assisted McCracken with her business plan and business financial projections and other small business related assistance from September 2016 until her purchase of the business in February of 2018.

“Purchasing a business proved to be a bigger challenge than I anticipated. Michelle with the Pikeville SBDC was there to answer any question I had,” said McCracken. “She helped with my financial projections and business plan I needed to acquire the loan for the business and later the new building. They are a tremendous asset to have and I would highly recommend them to anyone needing help with purchasing or starting a business.”

Appalachian Beauty School is now open in its beautiful new facility in Belfry.  It will be able to offer additional classes with more student availability and plenty of parking space for its loyal clients.

 “McCracken was met with many obstacles along the way to owning her own small business but she never gave up,” said Spriggs.

The ribbon cutting was held May 21 at the new location at 25429 U.S. Highway 119 North in collaboration with the Southeast Kentucky Chamber of Commerce.

For information on the Appalachian Beauty School, call 606-237-6650 or email

For additional information on SBDC services, contact 606-432-5848 or email at or visit