Rusty Ludlow is a bald man who loves hair — even though most of his receded during the 25 years he worked in hospital administration in Michigan.
Moving to Florida a decade ago gave Rusty the opportunity to launch a second career, and he chose hair styling.
“I’ve been interested in hair styling since I was young. And, I wanted to work closer to people with a more hands-on, personal touch,” says Rusty.
Being bald doesn’t concern his customers, and many have followed him from his prior salon to SmartStyle.
“My lack of hair can be a bit of an ice-breaker,” Rusty says while describing a teenage girl who sat in his chair unsure of how she wanted her hair styled.
“Would you like it longer than mine?” he asked. “The girl laughed and relaxed, which made it easier for me to offer suggestions based on my 10 years of experience.”
SmartStyle is a full-service salon located inside Wal-Mart in Lutz. It offers a complete range of services, including cuts, color, highlights and perms, in a warm and relaxing atmosphere.
Rusty was setting up his work station in preparation for his first customer the day I arrived to interview him for this story. He greeted me with a warm smile and confident handshake. As we spoke, whenever he saw a customer in the checkout line, he gave them a friendly wave. Whenever he can, he steps outside the salon to greet his clients in person.
How does SmartStyle compete with high-end salons?
“We don’t,” answered Rusty. “No appointment is needed at SmartStyle, and we’re not trying to be exclusive or upscale. We want to be affordable for the working men and women who shop at Walmart.”
“Many customers get their haircut while their spouse is shopping,” said Rusty. “You don’t need to make a special trip, and there is seldom a wait of more than 15 or 20 minutes.”
Rusty stays current with today’s hair styles and trends. Clients who are not sure what they want often ask Rusty for suggestions, and he recommends styles that best fit their lifestyles.
“My primary concern is to help people look their best,” said Rusty. “It’s not unusual for a customer to stop in and ask a ‘what do you think?’ when they’re considering a change in style.”
It’s apparent that Rusty thinks highly of the SmartStyle franchise.
“SmartStyle strives to keep its prices affordable because we want to be able to take care of the whole family,” said Rusty. “I recently was talking with a new customer who said she had called around and found that SmartStyle had the best pricing in the area.”
Hair cuts are $15.50 for men and women and include a shampoo. They have a Tuesday special for $12. Coloring starts at $45.
Rusty’s website www.hairbyrusty.com offers a coupon for $3.50 off any haircut. SmartStyle also has special discounts on its website www.smartstyle.com. In addition to discounted salon services, Rusty’s customers have access to a complete line of reasonably priced quality hair care products.
Rusty’s work schedule changes from week to week and is posted on his website. “I invite folks to give me a call or just stop by and discover what a quality haircut or other service you can get at the best prices in town,” said Rusty.
SmartStyle is located inside Walmart at 1575 Land O’ Lakes Blvd., Lutz. They can be reached at (813) 909-7957.
– Mike Matthew
This story was written by the advertising department.