They will do the first sharpening in the store, unless things have changed very dramatically lately. They will not likely do thinning and such. A-steel is a very, very bad choice for learning to sharpen or thin. It's ridiculously tough. You'd likely pick up some truly bad habits working with it. I'd say go Aritsugu but a different steel, such as carbon.
4/25/17 at 4:45pm