Studio opens in Paradise Pavilion
Merle Norman offers skin care for men, woman

By AMANDA VOSS - Daily News

Oct. 8, 2014

The store front at the West Bend Merle Norman Cosmetic Studio on Tuesday
afternoon in West Bend.
Photo by John Ehlke

Vicki Bressler, a certified makeup artist for 18 years, has transformed what was once an Army recruiting office in the Paradise Pavilion into Merle Norman Cosmetic Studio.

Merle Norman, 1630 S. Main St., opened Tuesday. Bressler said the renovations took longer than expected.

She said it was a huge remodeling project where walls were taken down, walls were put up, rewiring was completed and new cement was installed in front of the store.

“I think it’s a really nice center,” Bressler said, adding the store is between maurices and Dress Barn.

Craig Farrell, executive director of the West Bend Area Chamber of Commerce, said location, location, location is the key for retail and the Paradise Pavilion is great for retail businesses.

“It’s easy to get to. Very recognizable and traffic flow is great,” Farrell said.

He said he looks forward to welcoming Merle Norman Cosmetics.

Owner Vicki Bressler stands near the front display of products at the West Bend Merle Norman Cosmetic Studio on Tuesday afternoon in West Bend.  
Photo by John Ehlke

Bressler owned a Merle Norman Cosmetic Studio in Rockford, Illinois, for 10 years, but she and her husband of 36 years, Stan Bressler, decided to move to West Bend and open a studio here.

“Apparently you had one for more than two years,” Vicki Bressler said. “Merle Norman said it was a good one and we always wanted to live in Wisconsin our whole lives, so we thought it was the perfect opportunity to move our business here.”

Bressler said Merle Norman Cosmetics started in 1931 by Merle Norman in her Santa Monica, California, home.

“It’s a wonderful line of cosmetics and skin care,” Bressler said. “I’ve used just about everything and sold everything. I’ve been in this industry 18 years and I don’t think anything can beat Merle Norman skin care.”

Bressler said she was investigating several companies to work for and what drew her to Merle Norman Cosmetics is the colors, foundations, skin care and product quality.

“Merle Norman has skin care for every skin type from the driest of skin to the acne line,” Bressler said. “They have body products. They have cosmetics. We have foundations. It’s a company that’s on the leading edge of everything.”

Owner Vicki Bressler is reflected in one of the mirrors in the center of the West Bend Merle Norman Cosmetic Studio on Tuesday afternoon in West Bend. 
Photo by John Ehlke

Products are available in-store or customers can call in an order. Bressler said she takes many mail orders.

“Merle Norman believes people still go to the store. They want the studios to be successful,” Bressler said.

When customers walk into the West Bend Merle Norman Cosmetic Studio products line the walls and in the center are tables for makeovers or consultations. Bressler is also selling scarves, jewelry and purses. For the next two weeks customers can enter a drawing for $50 gift certificates.

Bressler said she is also a skin care specialist and will help customers with anything from covering up a scar or tattoo, teaching a customer how to do their eyes or how to contour their face.

Merle Norman also offers a line for men called MN for Men. She said at her Rockford store men and women would come in for facials.

“They’ve been taking care of it a little more than us because they’ve been shaving,” Bressler said. “When they shave they’ve been exfoliating their skin.

“You’ll get a 50-year-old woman come in here and go ‘my husband looks younger than me.’ That’s because you’ve done nothing for your skin and your husband’s been shaving since he’s 18.”

Merchandise on display at the West Bend Merle Norman Cosmetic Studio on Tuesday afternoon in West Bend.  
Photo by John Ehlke

“You don’t have to be a makeup person, but you need to take care of your skin,” Bressler said.

Merle Norman Cosmetics are made in the United States, something Bressler is proud of. She said the factory is in Los Angeles and there are dermatologists, doctors and scientists on board.

“I think it’s important to support people in the United States and support jobs,” Bressler said.

Bressler said she would encourage residents to come to the West Bend Merle Norman Cosmetic Studio because of the products and the renovated studio.

“It’s just a comfortable setting,” Bressler said. “We always have a pot of coffee going. We have a water cooler. People aren’t walking around you. It’s private.”

The West Bend Merle Norman Cosmetic Studio is open 10 a.m.-7 p.m. Monday through Friday and 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Saturday.

For more information call 262-346-8386.