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Merle Norman owner plans 42nd anniversary celebration

Merle Norman has had a presence in downtown Lincolnton since June 7, 1966.
Now it’s time to celebrate.
Owner Amy Brown says she has plenty planned for the business’ 42nd anniversary in Lincolnton, which she is celebrating Jan. 15-26.
“It’s an event to thank our customers for many years of loyalty and to welcome new customers,” Brown said of the two-week celebration.
It’s the second year Brown has chosen January as a special time of celebration for her store. Last year, she held a grand opening, and Brown says she plans to do something each January.
While Brown may be relatively new to Merle Norman – she took over the shop in August 2006 – she’s quick to point out that her position is far from fly-by-night.
“I’m the fourth owner in 42 years,” she said.
Founder Merle Norman started the cosmetics business in Los Angeles more than 75 years ago. She opened her first studio in Santa Monica in 1931.
According to Brown, Norman would create products and let her friends try them out.
“She would cook the products on her stove,” Brown said.
Eventually, Norman moved into the public relations and marketing side of her business, while nephew J.B. Nethercutt headed up manufacturing.
Nethercutt’s son runs the business today.
“It’s still family run,” Brown said.
While Merle Norman began as a single studio in southern California, it grew into a franchise system, giving other women a chance to enter the world of business.
“She believed in women being able to own their own businesses back then,” Brown said.
Now, Brown is following in Norman’s footsteps.
“I’ve always wanted to own my own business,” she said.
As a longtime Merle Norman customer, Brown found becoming a franchisee was the perfect fit for her.
Brown, who still lives in her native Rowan County and commutes to Lincolnton daily, says she and husband Jarrett were married for a few years before they decided to enter into business ownership.
And when they did take the plunge, says Brown, the Lincolnton location was their first choice.
“I drive a long way to get here everyday,” Brown said. “We looked at others closer to home and none compared.”
In addition to Merle Norman makeup and skin care products, the company offers personalized bridal consultations, facials and makeovers for many occasions including prom.
At her store, Brown also carries sterling silver and fashion jewelry, quilted and leather handbags, Pouchee purse organizers, Woodies sandals and Rainbow flip-flops.
Brown says she has a lot of regular customers at Merle Norman. She says there are more than 1,500 names in her database.
And Brown is hoping quite a few will show up to help her celebrate the business’ 42nd year in Lincolnton.
She’s offering a free lip gloss kit to the first 50 customers who spend at least $75.
In addition, lots of her non-Merle Norman merchandise will be on clearance during the celebration, and Brown is planning to offer special drawings and door prizes as well.
For Brown, it’s an occasion not only to celebrate the longevity of Merle Norman in Lincolnton, but to honor the customers who have helped make the business such a success.
“I love people,” Brown said. “It’s so rewarding to make them even more beautiful than they already are.”

MERLE NORMAN
n Product: makeup and skin care products, personalized bridal consultations, facials and makeovers.
n Location: 224 E. Main St., Lincolnton
n Date opened: June 7,1966; owned by Amy Brown since August 2006
n Hours of operation: 9:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Tuesday-Friday; 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday
n Contact: (704) 735-6221 or amybrown@merlenormanstudio.com

by Allyson Levine

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