When the Shopper's Fair mall opened just east of East Park Plaza nearly 40 years ago, one of its first tenants was Joseph's College of Beauty.
Now, after the mall fell on hard times, Joseph's is coming back to help spur its revival under new ownership.
The 53-year-old cosmetology school is moving April 30 to a space formerly occupied by Tuesday Morning in the mall at 6810 P St.
"It's sort of like a move back home," said Jane Nims, who now runs the school her husband helped found.
Joseph's started out in a building at 11th and P streets that no longer exists before moving in 1980 to Shopper's Fair. It later moved to the 24th and O streets area, where it occupied three different buildings, before moving to its current location in the former Land and Sky building at Cotner and O streets in 2007.
Nims said that space has served the school well and the landlord has been great, but it's more space than is needed.
When they moved there in 2007, founders Bruce Nims and Joseph Cuva said at the time that they hoped to triple enrollment, but that goal was never met, leaving the space "underutilized," as Nims' son-in-law Jim Arrigo put it.
The building also has logistical issues because the space is spread out over two levels.
"Two-story buildings are difficult to supervise," Nims said.
The new space solves that problem, with everything on one level. It has two classroom spaces, 40 styling stations and areas for specialty training, such as manicures and pedicures. It also has much more parking available than the current location does.
That makes it better not only for the college's students, but also for the clients who use its services, many of whom are older, Nims said.
She said the new location is set up to accommodate as many as 60 students at a time, although the first class will have about 45 students.
Nims has been involved with the school since it opened, joking that she was the first student and, "They just haven't been able to get rid of me since."
Since her husband passed away last year, Nims has run the school, with help from her daughter and son-in-law.
Shawna Nims-Arrigo joined the business a few years ago after a career as an elementary school teacher, and now helps coordinate the school's curriculum.
Her husband, Jim, functions as Joseph's construction manager. He coordinated all renovations to the new space and has led construction projects at some of the school's other six locations.
Joseph's will join an eclectic mix of tenants in the mall, which includes Dollar General, the People's City Mission's Help Center and a branch office of Mosaic, an organization that helps people with intellectual disabilities. A future tenant expected to open later this year is Cosmic Eye Brewing.
Nims said the school is hoping to partner with some of its neighbors, maybe by offering discounted hair cuts or other services.
For now, though, Joseph's will concentrate on settling into its new space. Because of the rules of its accrediting body, it can't shut down for even a day to move, so the move will have to occur over the weekend, when the school normally is not open.
That means closing the doors April 27 and reopening in the new location April 30.
Once students and instructors have a week of classes under their belts, Joseph's is planning a May 6 open house that will feature nationally known stylist Sam Villa of Redken.