Cathie Anderson: Federico brothers return to boost family's cosmetology business

Published: Saturday, Feb. 23, 2013 - 12:00 am | Page 1B
Last Modified: Monday, Feb. 25, 2013 - 9:02 am

You might say that the Federico brothers – Jeremy, Adam and Joseph Federico – inherited a vision. It just took them awhile to see it and to put their stamp on it.

Their great-uncle and grandfather, Sam and James Federico, opened the Federico Beauty Institute in Stockton in 1946 and planned on dotting the Central Valley with their cosmetology schools.

When Sam died in an airplane accident, James Federico concentrated his efforts on the Sacramento region. At one time, he and his son Gary ran as many as five schools.

Gary Federico took his three boys to work with him. They'd sweep floors, clean lint out of the dryers, work the front desk or help out in the back office.

The experience didn't woo them. Each made up his mind not to work in the family business.

Jeremy got a degree in industrial technology from California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo, and Joseph earned a literature degree from the University of California, Santa Cruz. Adam, who graduated from Federico Beauty Institute and got a cosmetology license, went down to Los Angeles to find his fortune.

Despite attempts to leave the fold, they all are back and are running the family business. Gary Federico has a theory about that: "When they were much younger and around the dinner table … I was at one end and my wife was at the other end, and I said, 'OK, here's what you guys are going to do.' I said, 'Adam, you're the hairdresser.' I said, 'Jeremy, you're going to be my attorney.' And this one (Joseph) is going to be my CPA because that's what you need to run the business."

He wasn't far wrong: Jeremy is president; Joseph, chief financial officer, and Adam, artistic director. No longer does the family own five tiny schools. They own one huge one in North Natomas, not far from the Coke cup at Gateway Park and Arena boulevards.

The building is a roomy 43,000 square feet, but half of it had been leased for years. That's changing.

The Federico brothers are in the midst of a $2.5 million expansion into that space. The beauty institute is adding an auditorium that will welcome industry professionals to hair shows or for advanced training. There will be classrooms for a new barbering program, along with a barbershop. There will be an expanded store, and a phalanx of new stations for cosmetology. And, last but not least, Adam Federico is bringing his 10-year-old AJF Salon on J Street back into the fold at 1515 Sports Drive.

"We're bringing Adam more into the loop," Jeremy Federico said. " … He and his team will be on site, so we can utilize them. We want them to get their hands in with our current cosmetology students and with advanced training. We're really becoming just a pure education center that services not only the people getting their licenses but also the licensed professional who wants to come back for a refresher or for inspiration."

And, if visitors need a maintenance guy, they can go straight to one of the owners. These days, semi- retired Gary Federico helps keep the machinery humming.

Changes for Chops

This summer Geoff Flynn and his partners in Chops steakhouse plan to freshen up their restaurant across the street from the Capitol on L Street.

"You'll see some of the bigger light fixtures and things to get more light in there," he said. "It won't be a full-scale change, but it will be enough that when you walk in, you'll notice something different."

Flynn said he hopes the changes will bring a bit more of the light airiness that characterizes his location at Palladio at Broadstone in Folsom. Speaking of that location, it seats about 100 people, 30 fewer than Flynn can fit in downtown. Yet, he said it has been grossing a little more money in the eight months that it's been open.

"It's finally starting to feel like we're coming out of the clouds of that recession," Flynn said. "They've been saying we've been out of it for a long time, but it hasn't felt like it."

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