Tennessee Institute of Cosmetology opens new location

Posted on Saturday, January 25, 2014 at 7:15 pm


Celebrating the Morristown Area Chamber of Commerce ribbon cutting at the new location of the Tennessee Institute of Cosmetology are front row from left, Chamber Ambassador Karen Crumbley, Instructors Tammy Huntley and Shante’ Fanney, Founder and Owner Paula Cook, Instructors Charli McCurrey and Pam Lunsford, Incoming Chamber Chairman Roni Snyder and Chamber Ambassador Leslie Beach. They are joined by TIC students.

The care of Barbie dolls has always been a good bellwether of future adult behavior. There are children who keep them sealed in their original boxes (potential investors), insist on having Ken accompany Barbie everywhere (potential romance novelists) or change those tiny outfits every five minutes (potential clothing retailers).

Then there are the industrious tykes, like Paula Cook, who get out the scissors.

Cook confessed her early fascination with hair styles during the Morristown Area Chamber of Commerce ribbon cutting held Jan. 21 at the new location of the Tennessee Institute of Cosmetology (2438 E. Andrew Johnson Hwy).

Cook is the founder and owner of the school that moved into its new digs just before the Christmas holidays. She purchased the building in Dec. 2013 and, along with family, staff and several students, completed the necessary renovations within five weeks.

Their work resulted in a spacious, open design that incorporated a large cosmetology classroom, a nail classroom, six pedicure beds, eight manicure stations with two accompanying drying stations; 10 dryer chairs; two facial rooms; five shampoo bowls and 24 styling stations.

“We moved in over the Thanksgiving weekend. It was a great Christmas present to be in our location for the holidays,” Cook said.

The new location is 2,000 square feet larger than the original site of the school that she opened in 2006, described by Cook as “the fulfillment of a longtime dream of mine.”

The dream began around the time Cook outgrew her penchant for working with Barbie hair.

“I would talk my friends into letting me work on them and get a few of my mom’s wigs and give them a new style,” she said. “Being a cosmetologist is something I always wanted to do.”

Cook took the cosmetology course while she was in high school and finished all 1,500 hours required before graduating. She went to work in March at a local salon before getting her diploma in May, and then continued working there for three years before opening her own, Magic Scissors, that she operated for 20 years.

“I had always wanted to teach and had my instructor’s license for 17 years before I got brave enough to open up my own school. We were at our previous location for seven and one-half years,” Cook said.

Cook gives kudos to her instructor staff that consists of Charli McCurrey, Pam Lunsford and Shante’ Fanney, along with part-time help from Tammy Huntley and Dan Thomas. She hopes the staff will soon be able to offer instruction in esthetics.

“We offer everything a salon does, from foils to perms and even waxing, at a discount price. All students are supervised by an instructor. We are glad to schedule appointments for you, and walk-ins are always welcome,” Cook said.

“We try to go above and beyond what is necessary training for getting their state board exam. I want them to be able to work in a salon when they walk out the door. We have it set up as a salon atmosphere. It is a school. In the classroom, we teach what you’ll need to know in order to pass the state board exam. When you come out onto the floor, this is what you’ll be doing the rest of your life.

“We’ve had really good success. I’ve had three students in the last year go to work for Salon Visage in Knoxville (they train for another year as apprentices) and more students going to salons in Rogersville, Greeneville and Johnson City. I’m very proud of them.

Cook said she tries to teach her students what not to do, by using the mistakes she’s made over 30 years as examples.

“If it can be done, I’ve probably done it,” she said. She used a man’s hair cut as an example for the Chamber ambassadors during the ribbon cutting.

“He said he wanted it over the ears. To me, that meant trimming it above the ear line. To him, it meant the hair would cover his ears,” Cook said.

Cook said that smart phones assist stylists now, because customers can download a picture of a celebrity, like Justin Bieber, with the hair cut they would like. And YouTube videos provide instruction for the nail classes.

“It’s a little different than it was 30 years ago,” Cook said.

“Thank you for taking the action to fulfill a need in the community,” incoming Chamber Chairman Roni Snyder said.

Tennessee Institute of Cosmetology is located across East Andrew Johnson Hwy. from the Veterans of Foreign Wars building. For more information, or to make an appointment, call 423-587-5520.

- By Glenna Howington, Tribune Staff Writer

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