Port Arthur News
A cluster of people with mischievous smiles wandered into Beverly Herford’s Merle Norman shop just before closing time on Wednesday much to the surprise of the owner.
Heading up the back of the group was Ronnie Boneau, executive manager of Groves Chamber of Commerce and Tourist Center, holding a bouquet of flowers while declaring Herford and her business as the 2013 Groves Small Business of the Year.
“I’m shocked speechless,” Herford said after a round of applause erupted from the group which included Herford’s staff, family and chamber members.
Boneau said that when he first met Herford she was in a shop on Main Avenue about two decades ago.
Paige Hervey, owner of The Collection, nominated Herford for the award. In her nomination letter she tells of a woman who started out in a small shop 21 years ago before moving to her current location, 4300 Lincoln Ave., eight years ago. Through the years she continued to expand the business adding more total footage as well as Bella Boutique.
“Beverly’s ‘studio’ exceeds Merle Norman’s rigid standards and requirements. She has been designated a ‘gold medallion studio’ in recognition of her excellence in providing quality cosmetics and cosmetic services and she will be recognized in Washington, D.C., in May at Merle Norman’s annual convention in top sales,” Hervey said.
Hervey tipped her hat to Herford who, as a single mother, started the business from scratch along with owning and running a snow cone stand in Port Arthur. She continued to build her business while caring for her elderly parents in Lumberton only to lose them a few years ago, Hervey said.
Barbara Freeman explained that Herford has customers who shopped at her first location that still shop with her while Donna Boyd, an employee said Herford now works with several generations of the same families.
Herford’s daughter, Kellie Dowden, was excited about her mother’s newest honor.
“It is well deserved and a long time coming,” Dowden said with a smile.
Cameras snapped multiple photos as Herford posed with family, employees and friends.
“I’m overwhelmed,” Herford said. “It is such a shock and surprise, a wonderful surprise.”