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Polston fulfills girlhood dream with Merle Norman store

Merle Norman Cosmetics, established in 1931 by Merle Norman, shown in this photo, still produces some of the original products including, from left, Mirocal, a deep cleansing cream mask; powder base; and cleansing cream makeup remover.

Merle Norman Cosmetics, established in 1931 by Merle Norman, shown in this photo, still produces some of the original products including, from left, Mirocal, a deep cleansing cream mask; powder base; and cleansing cream makeup remover.

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Merle Norman Cosmetic Studio, located at 1745 Highway 138 in the Kroger shopping center, carries makeup and skin care products, purses, and jewelry, and offers spa services.

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Merle Norman Cosmetic Studio owner Tammie Polston, along with her daughter and store manager Leigh Spell, pose in front of the store logo.

As a child growing up in the south Georgia town of Baxley, Tammie Polston spent many days visiting the Merle Norman Cosmetic store owned by her best friend's mother.

"We played in it, we stayed in it," said Polston, who started going there at age 14 to try different cosmetics.

Polston said she dreamed of owning a Merle Norman store but she put her plans on hold for a few decades because she became a mother at a young age.

Now, 29 years later, her childhood aspirations have come to fruition. In fall of last year, Polston opened up her own Merle Norman Cosmetic Studio, right next to Hair Motif, a hair salon she's owned for the last eight years, located at 1745 Ga. Highway 138 in the Kroger shopping center.

"I was very familiar with the product, I wore it for years," said Polston, who has worked as a hair stylist for 25 years. "I've used everything and the skin care is beautiful."

The Merle Norman store offers a full line of makeup including foundation (over 190 shades with a mineral line), concealers, cheek color, lipstick, lip gloss, eyeshadow, mascara and eyeliner, as well as tools such as brushes and brush cleaners.

Skin care products range from cleansers, makeup removers, age-defying creams, toners and moisturizers to masks, exfoliators and serums. Other skin care items include formulas for blemish control and lip care.

The store also carries accessories such as jewelry and purses by Mary Frances (which can be monogrammed); OPI nail polish; Jack Black men's skin care line; spa services including facials, eyelash extensions and waxing; ear piercing; and fragrances.

Polston said new products are regularly introduced by Merle Norman, most recently a foundation primer which is applied before makeup, and a finishing sprayer, put on after makeup to keep the cosmetics looking fresh.

The store also offers monthly specials such as free or discounted items with purchases.

Polston's business partner is her husband, Ben Polston, and her youngest daughter, Leigh Spell, is the store manager.

Polston said she enjoys working in the beauty profession.

"I love making people feel good. You never know what kind of a day people have had when they come in ... If you can make them feel good about themselves, that's a good thing, especially in today's economy and society we live in," Polston said.

"To make somebody feel good, it gives them a positive outlook and when you feel good about yourself, you are a more positive person."

A member of Rockdale Baptist Church, Polston said she "could not do it without the Lord, our frontrunner, first and foremost."

When asked about her thoughts on finally accomplishing a goal she's had since her youth, Polston said she feels "humbled."

"We are very blessed and appreciative of what we have," she said.

The Merle Norman Cosmetic Studio in Conyers is open Monday through Friday, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.; Saturday, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. and closed on Sunday. To learn more, call the store at 770-483-4900 or visit Conyers Merle Norman on Facebook.