Photos Andy Calvert
Many business partners tend to be opposites—one optimist and one pessimist or one introvert and one extrovert—but not this pair. Allison Terry and Autumn Atkison, co-owners of downtown Rome’s new hair salon Canvas on Broad, are both extroverted optimists.
Listening to them talk is a little like watching a high energy open mic act: a tumble of words, loads of personality, and lots of good laughs. And they even look the part; Atkison with her thick, scarlet curls, and Terry with her pink tresses. No wonder so many customers become regulars right away.
A place to lounge, linger and learn
Canvas on Broad, which opened in February 2021, is a good place to get pampered. For starters, customers can receive haircuts, color, hair extensions, makeup, facial waxing, and styling. Customers come here to be spoiled, but also to learn how to take care of their own hair. “The whole point is to make them feel good about themselves,” Atkison says.
When it comes to helping a bridal party look their best on that special day, the stylists at Canvas on Broad show their expertise. They can look at a bride’s face and tell what hair color will look good with her skin’s undertone and her eye color, and what will compliment her facial features without washing her out.
As for the current hairstyle trends among brides, according to Atkison and Terry, it is more natural, more textured, and looks loose and effortless (though they are quick to point out there is nothing effortless about it). Terry says, “Hair color these days is very lived-in, grows out natural, with lightness at the bottom and sun-kissed around the face.” Atkison adds, “It looks very soft and subtle. Like it’s natural, but it’s a 1000% not!”
Putting the party into bridal party
A popular choice for brides is to rent out Canvas on Broad’s entire space for their bridal party on that special day. Available options include hair, makeup, catering (they have a full kitchen), and drinks such as mimosas. If the bridal party does not need the whole salon to themselves, they can come while it is open to the public. Either way, they can get ready for the wedding in a fun, relaxing atmosphere.
Terry says, “I have the most fun here that I’ve ever had working anywhere. We have a ball!” Atkison agrees: “When people come here, they can tell it’s a lighthearted atmosphere. We know how to have a good time.” They strive to provide their customers with what they call a “positive, inviting mental space.” That is, a safe, fun environment for everyone.
Keeping up with the times
Atkison and Terry’s passion for educating others is not limited to their customers. The ongoing process of teaching their in-house hair stylists is vital to keeping the business current and relevant in an industry that constantly evolves.
They point out that every three months or so there is a new trend or technique, and it is important to these salon owners that their work remains innovative, that they provide the best customer service possible, and that they continue to build a reputation as an exceptional salon.
However, the stylists do not simply cut people’s hair and send them on their merry way; they educate them about their hair’s unique texture and needs, and what is the best way to nurture and protect it between salon appointments.
For instance, Terry says, “There’s no point in spending money on hair color and then going home and using a cheap shampoo on it. You’re wasting your money, and you’ll just rinse out your hair color.” She adds (without joking), “Don’t buy your shampoo where you buy your food! And a more expensive drugstore brand still isn’t good for your hair, it’s just a marketing thing.”
Room to grow
People who are used to the cramped confines and dated décor of many hair salons will be pleasantly surprised by Canvas on Broad’s expansive dimensions and chic look. “We had an interior designer come in,” Atkison said, “but we did get lucky with this space.
It had beautiful bones.” The previous tenants, The Spires at Berry College, did extensive renovations, so the salon inherited many beautiful details they did not have to change, like gleaming hardwood floors, a modern fireplace, and freshly painted walls. Terry says, “We knew we had to have it as soon as we walked in here.”
Having so much room to work with is a real plus for this hair styling duo; they have opened their salon to subcontractors who provide luxury beauty services such as eyelash extensions and microblading (semipermanent eyebrow tattooing). They are still looking for more beauty professionals with creative ideas, so the salon will just get better and better.
Visit Canvas on Broad at 113 Broad Street in Downtown Rome, find them on Facebook at