Learning this morning that TRIM Classic Barber & Legendary Beauty will close at the end of the month flooded me with memories as the news sunk in.
I remember when TRIM Classic Barber & Legendary Beauty first opened in the year 2000 on 12th Avenue South. This was before the neighborhood was known as “12South” as it is known today, but it was right on the bridge when the change was happening. Becker’s Bakery was there. Katy K’s Ranch Dressing, and Tye Dye Mary’s was found above Granny’s Flower Shop. Mirror, a local restaurant, had fabulous reviews and served polenta fries that the city couldn’t get enough of. The New York Times wrote an article about Nashville’s burgeoning “12South” in 2003 called “One Street at a Time,” and TRIM was a part of this.
To say that TRIM was the darling hair salon in town is an understatement. Men and women alike flocked to TRIM and its aesthetic, which was a stark difference from the sleek and “bigger is better” hair salons of the ’90s. TRIM was all about making you feel and look fabulous, but it was also about your experience while there. It was the first time I’d experienced a head massage before someone cut my hair.
The opening of TRIM was a bright star of belief in the current — and future of — Nashville and of 12south. And, we all felt it. The only similar thing for the time that stands out is Margot opening in East Nashville. They both provided a unique-to-Nashville experience, and we were all thankful that these businesses believed in us, as a collective. They believed in our city. Melanie Shelley opened TRIM, and current owner, Liz Grotticelli, took over a few years ago.
The retro salon had a very feminine side – off to the right when you walked in – decked out in pink. Then they had a masculine side – on the left side of the salon – enhanced with green walls and wood accents that offered a straight blade shave. That was cool. We all felt a bit more hip with a straight blade shave being offered at this new retro salon on a street that we all knew had been designated the next hot thing. But, it was in its infancy. The addition of TRIM made other businesses take notice and believe in the area.
At TRIM, you were offered a drink and greeted by a happy, low-key employee who set the tone that things were different here. The building itself, historic in nature, absorbed sound in a way that concrete floors and high ceilings never will. TRIM was calmer both in sound and sight.
And the hidden rooms in the back, with pocket doors and individual sinks, meant that women getting their hair colored no longer needed to sit in the main space. This also meant the salon smelled better than others. And, for high-profile clients, of which there were many, it meant you could sneak in and be situated in a plush back room and not worry about other customers seeing you not looking your best. No one looks good getting your hair cut or colored. But, when you walked out of TRIM, you felt like you had goddess hair.
I started out seeing Kathleen, but when a scheduling snafu occurred, I was placed with a new-to-Nashville stylist, Bryan Letcher, who is still there today. I’ve been seeing Bryan 6-7 times a year for 20 years. He knows all my kids’ names, he’s heard about them from birth to college. He’s been a constant in my life from selling my lunch cafe in 2001, to starting StyleBlueprint in 2009. I’ve cheated on him along the way, yes, and found fun friendships with other stylists as a result. But, I always made my way back to Bryan and to TRIM. They became part of my chosen Nashville experience.
The apprentice program at TRIM has launched more stylist careers in Nashville than may be possible to count. TRIM made sure their stylists were trained well through this program but also ensured that salons across the city were able to inherit well-educated stylists that not only had all their licenses and basic training but had been through an intensive apprentice program at one of Nashville’s top salons.
Our hairstylists know us in ways that others don’t, and the salons that employ them are part of that experience. Covid has been particularly hard on salons. As the owner of this publication, StyleBlueprint, one that relies on small business advertising, I can look at what advertisers have canceled with us in the past year and the number one category is hair salons across all of our sister cities. Flipping through local magazines, they are absent as well. And, our hair salons and stylists know us and our secrets more than anyone else. Our hairstylist is our confidant, our friend, our brainstorming partner, the person we laugh with and cry with.
Great stylists will find new salons, but it’s never quite the same as seeing them in that familiar place. And, with an institution like TRIM – as that’s what it was, an institution, a part of this city, a symbol – it hits even harder.
With the changes in Nashville and Covid, the closure of some businesses hits harder than others. This one, for me, hits hard. TRIM represents the hope of the city that was so palpable in 2000. But, it was a time when you could still scoot across town in 15 minutes from wherever you were. It’s the time after the tornado in 1998 hit us hard, and we recovered with more energy than before. It was before there was ever a TV show named after the city and before a cocktail was ever priced at over $9.
I was just getting my hair done last week and I heard about the impending move for the salon, which has taken so long to happen … As a small business owner myself, I know how hard this decision to close, after planning to move, must have been for TRIM’s current owner, Liz Grotticelli. Here is a copy of her letter and it’s just as gracious as one would expect:
Hello Friends and Guests.
The entire TRIM Team would like to thank you for the last 21 years of happiness you have each given us. We are incredibly grateful to you for your patronage and support, especially in this past year of so many uncertainties. Your company, your smiles, and your hair are what give this team so much life inside and outside the doors of TRIM.
Unfortunately, due to many complications involving a new buildout and desire to move (which began in December of 2019), our 2020 and 2021 have been particularly difficult, and we will have to close down permanently at the end of March. We are heartbroken for this loss, as we know this will change where you not only get your hair done, but our ability as a group to see your lovely faces every day.
There are some silver linings in all of this.
Your stylists will each have your information so they can smoothly transition you to your next destination. I will be personally working with each stylist on their next steps in order to get them settled where they need to go, and to assist them with guest care during this time. Our team is committed to making this transition as seamless as possible.
We have the luxury of giving you all notice so that those of you who have gift cards or credits with us can use those in these next few weeks. If we are unable to fit an appointment in, these gift cards can also be used for your favorite hair care products.
We will be holding a sale on hair products at 30% off until the close. So now is the time to stock up on your favorite products! We will be doing first-come first-serve for these hair products, so if you would like to check on inventory levels on these products, please don’t hesitate to call us at 615-269-8029.
Your stylist may be adding hours or days to take care of as many of you as possible. Not all stylists will be adding hours, but feel free to call at the end of this week to find out if you are currently not scheduled for the next few weeks. This extra time will be added in the next couple days so we can see as many of you as possible while we are still open.
I would like to personally encourage each of you to support our wonderful stylists during this transition period, and reassure you that we want to take the best care of you we can during this transition.
There is nothing we need from you at this time. If you have an appointment booked after the date of March 27, we will be reaching out to you on next steps, whether that is a reschedule or location change. Please be patient as we reach out as our stylists work on where they land next. Our goal in this process is to make sure you have an easy transition.
I personally (along with the entire TRIM Team) want to thank you from the bottom of my heart for all of your kind words, your support, and your encouragement during these last several years. I will personally miss seeing each of your faces in our chairs, but I am given so much hope that my team members will each land on their feet, and that you should experience very minimal inconvenience in this process.
Please reach out to us with any of your hair product and service needs this month, and we look forward to seeing many of you before this transition!
Liz Grotticelli and the TRIM Team
Trim, we’ll miss you and all that you have come to represent. You’ll hold a place in my heart forever.