GLOVERSVILLE - A city man is taking the first step to making his dream of operating a school of barbering out of the city's downtown a reality.
Michael Ortiz-Medina presented his project to the city Planning Board earlier this month.
Ortiz-Medina is requesting a special permit to operate a barber shop and restaurant out of 17 to 19 N. Main St., the former site of The Costume Shop.
According to Fulton County tax map data, the building is owned by Harby Associates, which has a U.S. post office box in Gloversville listed as its address.
The board scheduled a public hearing for his project for July 3 at a meeting, which starts at 7 p.m.
Ortiz-Medina began leasing the space in April. If he is granted the necessary approvals, he said he hopes to open the barber shop by the end of July.
He's never owned a barber shop before, but said it's something he's been thinking about for years.
"I wanted to choose a large-enough space to eventually make a school," he said. "I've been working cutting hair and building clientele, so I have the clientele as soon as I open."
Plans include a barber shop that also offers indoor tanning and massage for men and women.
The barber shop would be offered on one side of his leased space, while the other would be sectioned off and turned into a small Spanish restaurant, where diners could order Puerto Rican cuisine prepared by Ortiz-Medina's mother and stepfather. That element of the project won't likely open for at least six months, he said.
"This has been a dream of my mother and stepfather," he said.
Having always had a passion for cutting hair, Ortiz-Medina said eventually he wants to operate what would be Fulton County's exclusive school for future barbers.
He also has plans for the restaurant.
He hopes to find a large food cart with a kitchen, cut the mechanics out of the vehicle and install it in the restaurant.
Diners would order their food from a window in the cart, which would be decorated with Puerto Rican culture.
"We have a unique concept for the restaurant side - a food truck inside the building with the exterior custom-painted with anything that has to do with Spanish culture," Ortiz-Medina said. "The food truck would not be mobile. It'd be stationary, so the engine is not necessary - no mechanical parts. We'd have a few tables in there, too."
He said he has already begun working with the state Department of Health for any necessary approvals.
Ortiz-Medina estimated the project would bring eight jobs to downtown. He would work in the barber shop with two barbers, a receptionist and a massage therapist. In the kitchen, his mother and stepfather would run the restaurant. The restaurant may employ an additional person to wash dishes and perform other duties.
The restaurant would be open for lunch and early dinner - about 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. for the small operation, he said. The barber shop would be open from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m., and if possible, reopen from 11 p.m. to 2 a.m. on Fridays.
"That's just a consideration," he said.
Any new signs or exterior renovation would require the city Historic Preservation Review Board's approval since the building sits in the city's historic district.