The team from Metropolis Hair Fashions in Knoxville, Tennessee, including Scott Stuart (second...

The team from Metropolis Hair Fashions in Knoxville, Tennessee, including Scott Stuart (second from left) celebrate their win of SALON TODAY's 2019 Total Salon Makeover competition. 

In February 2019, SALON TODAY informed Scott Stuart, owner of Metropolis Hair Fashions in Knoxville, Tennessee, that he was the winner of our 2019 Total Salon Makeover competition. “It is a crazy feeling, and all the emotion makes your heart beat fast—it’s so rich to have your vision recognized,” he said at the time.

As the winner, Metropolis claimed a prize package valued at $30,000, comprising a complete salon management system, including hardware and software from STX Cloud; new salon furnishings from Minerva’s showroom; and Keune’s complete hair care, styling and grooming retail collection, complimentary backbar and an assortment of professional products. 

Metropolis’ entry quickly emerged as a front runner in the competition because Stuart had a very clear vision for his salon’s growth and was enthusiastic to embrace the change needed. SALON TODAY asked Stuart to keep a diary, and here’s a look at the salon’s transformative process:

The software and hardware package from STX Cloud not only is helping with payroll and...

The software and hardware package from STX Cloud not only is helping with payroll and scheduling, but the marketing function helped Metropolis prepare for a successful holiday season. 

FEBRUARY 2019: “After winning SALON TODAY’s Total Makeover Competition on the 16, we updated our systems in preparation to go live with the STX system and the Clover phone and internet program,” Stuart wrote. “While it cost us money for the IT upgrade, this change yielded us a savings of $600 a month, which I applied toward bringing in cell phones for the staff beginning in May. We began to work with consultant Tracey Smith to prepare the front desk team to transfer guest appointments to the STX system.” 

MARCH 2019: “We went live with the STX system in mid-March, and worked through some IT issues, which were far from my area of expertise. I’m so grateful for my young team during this process. We also rolled out the STX payroll system.” 

APRIL 2019: “We worked through some employee conflict, which ultimately led to the dismissal of one employee. That experience encouraged me to arrange for a team meeting in June to explore our interactions and communication abilities.” 

MAY 2019: “We initiated cell phone service for full-time Metropolis team members with six months of employment or more. All were encouraged to set up Instagram accounts, linking them with Metropolis’ social media.” 

JUNE 2019: “We began the process of changing business accountants to one who was more forward-thinking. This resulted in the following updates: online banking, direct-deposit payroll, unification of Quick books and the STX payroll system and direct-deposit 401(k) contributions.”

The new front desk from Minerva is more inviting for guests, and it's smaller footprint allows...

The new front desk from Minerva is more inviting for guests, and it's smaller footprint allows the team to expand their work space on days when they convert the salon into a classroom. 

JULY 2019: “We began the strategic selection of equipment and furniture with the Minerva part of the prize package.” 

AUGUST 2019: “With the new cell phones, we hosted a social media team meeting and launch. We also attended a Sam Villa class as a team. Tracey Smith worked with the team on how to integrate the STX system into the work day. We also hosted motivational education with Tracey and Brian Grieve, director of education with Concepts USA.” 

The Metropolis team gathered to install the new Keune retail displays, as well as add the So...

The Metropolis team gathered to install the new Keune retail displays, as well as add the So Pure Color collection to the salon's inventory.

SEPTEMBER 2019: “Via a group conference call with Jennifer Rider, Keune’s business development manager, we determined we would receive Keune’s So Pure Color Collection as part of our prize package. This will allow us to collaborate with Keune on educational events held in Knoxville when the size of our classroom is appropriate for the class. The Keune product arrived, and many of our team members gathered for the inventory and installation of products, the So Pure Color Collection and the displays and banners. It was a long day, but fun to see everyone pitch in and work together. On September 16, we held a class with Keune Academy Trainer Courtney von Berg

OCTOBER 2019: “Education continues in the form of three hands-on color classes with Melissa Evans from We learned that Knoxville’s City View magazine honored two of us—Jill Evans and me—with Best of the Best Awards.” 

NOVEMBER 2019: “We used STX’s marketing tools to let clients know about our holiday promotions. On November 7, six pallets, including 33 boxes of salon professional equipment and furnishings arrived from Minerva. It was fabulous to see every team member, and even some of our neighbors, pitch in to get the equipment in place. With a cry reminiscent of ‘Mr. Gorbachev, tear down that wall,’ we took down our long-standing, Texas-sized front desk, replacing it with a more modern and inviting front desk. This accomplished two things—it helped us create a more open and larger-looking space that focused on our guests, and it gave us the room we needed to expand our classroom area to 52 seats. On November 29, the new chandelier was hung.” 

DECEMBER 2019: “With our retail promotions, we were a busy salon in December. I conducted the last in a series of hands-on cutting classes for our five newest team members who are working toward becoming commissioned stylists. Our Minerva pedicure chair arrived and was installed on December 9.”

With the bulk of the transformation behind him, in 2020 Stuart is returning to what he loves best—education and delivering quality services to his guests. Stuart’s young team members have all come from the Tennessee College of Applied Technology, and in February he taught a three-hour class on campus. 

The new front desk from Minerva.

The new front desk from Minerva. 

In the near future, the Metropolis team will be joined by two of Britain’s upcoming stylists and educators Alex Hardy and David Vault Baker

“On one day we will gather to do a photo session, and on the subsequent day we will have a class for our team as well as area stylists and owners in our newly expanded 52-seat classroom,” Stuart says. “We’ll conclude the four days of learning extravaganza with Hardy and Baker being available for services for our guests.” 

With an eye to the future, Stuart is working with his accountant to initiate a succession plan, in which four of his team members will acquire shares in the Metropolis business model. 

“For me, it is so rewarding to be able to share what has been a fabulous career with the next generation, so they may help keep it all fresh for 

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