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Merle Norman boutique returns to downtown: New location has been open four weeks

Diann Waggoner has been owner of Merle Norman Cosmetics and Boutique for 22 years, taking over a business that has been in Ironton for about 80 years.

“Altogether, there have been four or five owners,” she said.

Last month, she relocated to the former Consigned Books location, at the corner of South Third and Vernon streets in Ironton.

It is a homecoming of sorts, as the business had previously been on Park Avenue before moving to The Hills shopping center.

Waggoner said she was inspired by the changes taking place downtown.

“I wanted to be back downtown,” she said. “I saw everything that is happening and wanted to be part of the revitalization.”

She said the owner of the building renovated the space, repainting the walls and ceilings and putting in a new floor. She hopes to add a new awning, in either maroon or burgundy in the near future.

“It’s been steady,” she said of business since the move. “And we’re more visible now.”

Waggoner said she was inspired to buy the Merle Norman location in Ironton after seeing a store in Ashland’s Mayo Arcade years ago.

“I loved to go in there,” she said. “I always wanted a Merle Norman and this one became available.”

She said, in her business,  the brick and mortar store has an advantage over online shopping, as customers like to come in and sample the products.

“We give free makeovers,” she said. “They like to see what things look like and feel the products. And we guarantee if they don’t like their makeup, they can bring it back.”

It’s more personal for them,” Gloria Hopper, who has worked for the company more than 20 years, said. She is one of three employees at the location.

While the cosmetics are their main business, Waggoner said they also sell Brighton jewelry and handbags, as well as Simply Southern and Vera Bradley items.

“And other miscellaneous items,” she said.

She says they draw customers from all over, including from Ashland, Wheelersburg and Portsmouth.

The biggest change in the company has been updates in their products, Waggoner said.

“They’re always bringing out new products and colors,” she said. “They’re going for the younger person also.”

The shop is open 10 a.m. – 5 p.m. Monday  – Saturday and is closed on Sunday.