By Sheryl Young

Hairstylist and salon owner Michael Schipano isn’t only a master of great style. He’s got a firm hold on what hair customers need and want in today’s economy. He and business partner Fred Davis figured out how to compete in the fashion-forward hair industry while remaining reasonably priced, yet offering a first-class atmosphere with top-notch designers.

With the easy-to-remember name HairStyle Salon and located in the Willow Bend Towne Center at Collier Pkwy. and S.R. 54 in nearby Lutz, Schipano and Davis opened the doors to their comfortably elegant, independent salon last July. HairStyle offers a full slate of hair services for children and adults, from general cutting and styling to complicated color and highlight jobs. The salon also offers waxing.

Schipano has more than 20 years of haircrafting experience, primarily in the New Tampa/Wesley Chapel area. Davis is the computer whiz and bookkeeper who also runs the reception end of the business.

“It was time to make a career move and open my own shop,” Schipano says. “But, besides that, I had many clients who were decreasing how often they could come in, because of this tough economy. That was a big consideration in the kind of place I wanted to open. I also had to figure out how to do the pricing.”

So, Schipano and Davis made a definitive choice – they decided to charge lower prices for Michael’s hair services than he had charged while working at previous salons in the area.

In addition to the lower prices, HairStyle also offers a 20-percent discount for teachers, policemen, firemen and military personnel.

“I feel fortunate to be able to open my own place,” Schipano states, “and I want to give back to the community.”

But, when it comes to the quality of style, HairStyle doesn’t disappoint.

The salon is pristine, spacious and contemporary. Davis and Schipano have combined black leather styling and lounge areas with elegant crystal chandeliers and bright, uncluttered product displays. The environment is interactive and friendly, while classic.

“And of course, we want our clients to look great,” Schipano says. “If you come in and say you just feel ‘okay’ about your hair, that’s not good enough for us. We’re going to make you look and feel terrific.”

To that end, he and Davis drew three very talented hair artists from the New Tampa and Wesley Chapel areas. “We were very selective in the stylists we invited to join us,” Davis says.

Those stylists are Ashley Bish, Kim Ripley and Shanna Young. They all bring outstanding experience to the table, allowing HairStyle to offer everything from the simplest cut, to applying extensions, to the most innovative coloring techniques.

Kim had worked with Schipano before. “I love working with Michael, and it’s a great place to work because of the open plaza and lots of exposure.”

Ashley agrees. “We really do have a great team here.”

Hair client Michelle Dyakon has been with Ashley for two years, and followed her to HairStyle. “I’ve been here since day one,” Michelle says. “I visit Ashley almost every week.”

Not to be outdone, Kim’s return client Molly Gannuscio decided to sing the praises of her stylist as well as those of the new salon.

“I came to the shalon at this location before and wasn’t sure I should try the new owner,” she recalls. “But once Kim did my cut and color, and I saw how friendly everyone was and their great prices, I became a fan.”

Stylist Shanna happened to be out on the day of the interview, but Schipano says she’s very much part of the HairStyle family, as is receptionist Sharon Gottuso. Davis says they were just as picky in choosing a receptionist who would have a suitable personality for the shop, as they were the stylists.

“We are familiar with ‘front desk divas’ and wanted to avoid making people feel like they’re being interviewed,” he says.

Finding more ways to satisfy their clients and potential customers, Davis has installed a computer system that can interact with HairStyle’s customers 24 hours a day. The salon’s impressive website ( allows people to ask for appointments or leave feedback and comments. In turn, the stylists can use any type of smart phone to view their respective appointment schedules or communicate with someone from wherever they are.

“If I run into a client in a restaurant, they can ask for an appointment,” Schipano says. “And I can check the system and enter a time right then and there. I love it.”

Davis adds that they can e-mail announcements and specials on hair products, which are exclusively Redken.

HairStyle personnel also stay up on the latest techniques, trends and shows. For example, in June just before the salon opened, the staff attended the annual Premiere Show in Orlando, one of the most successful beauty industry shows in the country, where hairdressers were offered more than 180 classes in hair techniques and trends. The staff will continue going every year. They’ve also watched and learned from well-known stylist Nick Arrojo, who did all the hair makeovers on the popular Learning Channel TV show “What Not to Wear” for seven seasons..

“Young stylists are struggling today in our fast society,” Schipano says. “Not all of them get the traditional training I got 20 years ago. I want them to have a great experience in both training and atmosphere. Happy stylists can focus on keeping their clients happy.”

The location has room for nine designers altogether and Schipano says he is confident the business will grow.

“Besides retaining past clients, the walk-in business from the neighborhood has been brisk,” he says. “Plus, the Center and neighborhood are enjoying revitalization and growth.”

HairStyle Salon is located at 23014 S.R. 54. It is open Tuesday-Saturday. For a complete list of hours, services and more great client testimonials, call 948-1270 or visit — and ask about the great color, cut & style special starting at just $48!

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