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Capitol Hill’s Gary Manuel Aveda Institute is making a two-block Pike/Pine move

The black-clad students of “The Harry Potter of hair schools” are on the move (Image: Gary Manuel Aveda Institute)

By Maggie Holland for CHS

In the wake of Seattle Vocational Institute discontinuing its School of Cosmetology, a new neighbor is moving onto the block at Harvard and Pike to fill the creative space left behind. The Gary Manuel Aveda Institute is packing up and moving a few blocks down to explore opportunities on a new frontier: the Seattle Central campus.

Along with the institute comes Elizabeth Noblitt, who first stepped into her role as director of the Gary Manuel Aveda Institute when it debuted on 10th Ave in 2004. Now, 15 years later, she is spearheading the move to the former E Pike at Harvard cosmetology school space that will keep the small armies of black-aproned beauty school students in the neighborhood.

Noblitt said the target opening date is the first week in October, depending on construction.

Despite being on the doorsteps to the campus, Gary Manuel is not affiliated with the college. But this positioning is intentional on part of Aveda, whose institutes are often located close to college campuses to increase clients and interest from students.

In 2004, Aveda opened the training facility in the Seattle Automobile Company Building on 10th Ave at Pike. Today, the busy school neighbors Poquitos in the heart of the neighborhood’s nightlife core. Its exit from the auto row-era will leave a big 12,000-square-foot hole for property owners Hunters Capital to fill.

Currently, the Capitol Hill Gary Manuel Institute has an estimated 70 students at, but Noblitt is anticipating growing interest as a result of opening on the edge of a college campus. Bethany Dixon is among the 70 students learning the craft of beauty school through Gary Manuel right now, and has been within the program since last August.

The 29-year-old has loved getting her hair done since she was young, and finally after feeling unfulfilled in her property management job, took the leap and joined beauty school.

“I always wanted to do hair and this is the time,” Dixon said. “It’s now or never.”

(Image: Gary Manuel Aveda Institute)

She describes the Gary Manuel Aveda Institute as the “Harry Potter of hair schools” and owes not only her newfound craft to the institute, but also friendships she says she has fostered along the way. She will be moving on to work for Bee Hive Salon in Wallingford, another Aveda salon.

In addition to convenience, Aveda institutes appeal to the wallets of college kids too. The services offered within these institutes are considerably marked down because they’re performed by stylists in training. Gary Manuel offers both hair and skin care deals, including facials, waxing, hair cuts and hair colors.

“We are a really great place to get a facial right before a paycheck,” Noblitt said.

Haircuts start around $16, along with facials starting at $42 for 60 minutes and $50 for 90 minutes.

“It’s a really good deal and you’re helping change someone’s career which is always rewarding,” Noblitt said.

The new space will be modeled after the Pioneer Square Aveda salon with black details and trim amid a minimal, white overtone. Once open, the institute will transform the salon into a spa and host only aesthetic services on Mondays, Tuesdays and Wednesdays. On Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays, the institute will be flipped back to a hair salon with the colors and music turned way up.

Events and sales are in the works, along with a planned student discount for services at this location. A moving sale will begin September 9th on overstock, and an annual holiday event will be hosted around the October opening date to welcome the salon to its new block.

You can learn more at

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Marsha Shaiman
Marsha Shaiman
1 year ago

Their students are incredibly well trained. Only good haircuts I ever got (and I lived in Hollywood) are from Aveda trained Gary Manuel stylists.