Bill Wampler Sr., the school owner and a true man of the comb, has been in the business of hairstyling for 45 years. From performing in hair shows around the East Coast, styling the heads of Miss Kingsport, Miss Tennessee and Miss America to having owned seven beauty schools and 30 salons, there isn't much the man hasn't seen or done in the field of cosmetology.
"I've trained probably half the hairstylists in the Tri-Cities over the last 40 years," he said.
His son, Bill Wampler Jr. with 30 years experience in hairstyling, helped his father open the Legacy School of Hair Design three and a half years ago and assists in running the operation.
With 25 students enrolled at any given time, their school produces many of the freshest faces in hair salons over the Southwest Virginia and East Tennessee regions. The budding stylists are taught proper technique in hair cutting, styling and coloring, and nail art.
Though their business was founded on their namesake, styling hair was not originally the life objective of Wampler Sr.
In 1963, he worked for the Kingsport Press' Electric Department. But when workers went on strike, he found himself in need of employment. His aunt, a successful local hairstylist, convinced him to go to beauty school. He enrolled in a 10-month cosmetology course at Lloyd's Beauty Training Center and Barton's Beauty School. With his wife, Sally, and baby son, Bill Wampler Jr., at home, the elder Wampler went on to pass the Tennessee State Board Examination in Nashville in 1964, receiving his state license.
He purchased one salon and opened another in the following few years, all the while attending classes and hair shows around the Tri-Cities and surrounding areas - honing his skills and keeping up with the latest hair and product trends. His determination and affinity for excellence has built his reputation as one of the premier hairstylists to ever come from this region.
"This business has really been good to me," the 71-year-old Kingsport native explained. Intending to retire almost a decade ago, the elder Wampler soon began to realize as he simply put it, "I just can't."
This fact is no doubt due in large part to his family. Bill Wampler Sr. and wife, Sally, have been married 51 years and have three children and 18 grandchildren to show from their union. And, the business of hair extends down the branches of their family tree.
One of the couple's granddaughters currently attends the classes offered by the Legacy School of Hair Design. Their grandson, Josh, who completed his degree at the school, now works for a barber shop in Colonial Heights.
The business, Wampler Sr. says, they are passing along.
"It's going to be our legacy."
The Legacy School of Hair Design is located at 1055 U.S. Hwy 23 in the Burgers R Us Shopping Center. They are open during the week except Wednesdays. Night classes are offered. Customers are taken by appointment or walk-in. Call 276-225-0210.