Pat Noe’s parents, Helen and Don Thomas, first opened Merle Norman Cosmetic Studio in Fountain City in 1963. The location was Fountain City Shopping Center, and the studio has been there ever since. Noe worked in the studio from the time she was 15, taking over the business when her mother retired.
But this spring she got a notice she wasn’t expecting; the shopping center’s owners were planning to demolish the wing of the center where Merle Norman’s storefront was, keeping only AutoZone and Fountain City Jewelers, and making way for a new bank.
With only one day closed, Noe and the staff moved Merle Norman to the Tudor-style building behind Kroger, at the intersection of Fair Drive and Maple Drive with Knox Road. During the move, they found artifacts of the business’s first days, including documentation of the original deposit paid to Fountain City Utilities in 1963. The utility was later annexed by KUB.
“It was quite a shock to begin with,” she said of the move. “But it’s just gone really well since then.”
The new building has its own parking, just for starters. And the many windows let in plenty of natural light, perfect for matching foundations during makeovers.
Merle Norman offers a full line of cosmetics, plus free makeovers and free steam facials. Noe also offers machine facials, including microderm and ultrasonic, and waxing. The building has room to grow, and Noe said she’s not yet decided what to do with the extra space but promises it will be “all girly stuff.”