His wife at the time owned a salon, he said. When he went to pick her up one night, she was running behind and asked him to blow-dry a customer’s hair. He was unsure at first, but with encouragement from her and from customers, he did it - and it became the unlikely start of his new career.
They operated Shelby Street Panache and Salon, a salon and clothing shop in downtown Kingsport, until 1984, when they sold the business and went to Florida, where they opened and ran a salon in a department store for a large company.
He returned to Kingsport in 1987 and opened Results Salon and Spa on Fort Henry Drive, in the same building where it’s located today.
"It was a surprise to me that it had been 25 years," he said. "A state inspector actually told me: We granted you your license 25 years ago."
Wilson said his Colonial Heights business was one of the first day spas in the area, offering facials and massage therapy even before they went mainstream.
Fifteen years ago, Wilson said, he made the decision to carry only one line of products: Aveda. The salon and spa uses exclusively Aveda products for hair, skin, makeup and body, including Aveda’s natural hair color line.
He said the exclusive use of Aveda products has helped increase his customer base over the years because people seek out these products, and it also provides his staff with opportunities for ongoing training.
"We can’t be all things to all people," he said, "so what we want to try to do is target our market."
Over 25 years, he said, the business has expanded from three hair stations, one manicure table and one pedicure station to seven hair stations, two manicure tables, two pedicure spas, two massage rooms and two facial rooms.
Some other things have also changed over the years, Wilson said. These days, customers expect more specialized services in less time, and express services are now offered. And, over the last 25 years, more men have come to visit the salon; they now make up 25 percent of its customers.
"It’s been quite an experience," Wilson said. "After 30 years of work in this industry, I’m having more fun now than I’ve ever had before."
To find out more about Results Salon and Spa, visit them on the Web at www.resultssalon.com, "like" Results Salon and Day Spa on Facebook, or follow on Twitter @ResultsSalonSpa.