By Andrew D. Brosig
Killeen Daily Herald
"Ding-dong, Avon calling."
It's arguably one of the most recognizable catch-phrases of the past half-century, bringing to mind images of sharply-dressed women promoting and selling the company's products to friends and neighbors.
Today, while the independent sales representative is hosting cosmetics parties for friends or delivering neatly wrapped packages of colognes and makeup to coworkers around the office, the company has expanded its operations to include brick-and-mortar stores.
One such store - known as Licensed Avon Beauty Centers - is owned and operated in Killeen by C.J. Reed. Typically located in shopping malls in larger cities, setting up the LABC here at Fort Hood's front door just made sense, she said.
"With Fort Hood right here, and this being a transitory community, I thought this would be a good spot," Reed said. "Especially with the military wives, they're here and gone, and they never knew an Avon representative was available."
Outside vendors - even the ubiquitous Avon ladies - aren't allowed to sell on post. So establishing the store on the east side of town seemed the right choice.
Reed has an almost life-long association with the cosmetics company, which will celebrate its quasquicentennial next year. Some of her earliest memories include her mother, Verdia Stover, using the products.
"Mother was a very staunch Avon supporter," Reed said. "You could see the quality of the products. I've tried others, but I always come back to Avon."
The company opened the first LABC stores about 10 years ago, Reed said. Her store manager, Ann Gaskin, is a former district sales manager with more than 20 years with the company. The stores started out as simple kiosks in shopping malls and grew from there, they said.
The stores were never designed to replace the traditional Avon marketing through sales representatives, Reed said. They exist more as an option for customers and to supplement the sales reps.
They offer several advantages, she said. For one, they have the merchandise on hand, so customers can try a cologne or type of makeup to be sure it's right for them. Also, if a sales representative misses something on an order or it's not available for whatever reason, there's a good chance Reed will have it in the store to satisfy the customer's needs.
"The bottom line is customer satisfaction," Reed said.
While the focus of the stores is restricted to makeup and skin care products, Avon still regularly publishes its catalogs containing a host of other merchandise, she said. From jewelry, clothing and accessories to kitchen and household items, the product line has definitely grown with the company.
Avon also strives to be as environmentally conscious as possible, Reed said. The company does not use animal testing on any of its products, for example. Reed herself routinely donates to local causes, including annual contributions to police and fire departments to provide trauma bears, stuffed animals presented to children following accidents, fires and other emergencies.
"Avon is a company. When there's a need, Avon steps in," Reed said. "They're about giving back to the communities."
Contact Andrew D. Brosig at email@example.com or (254) 501-7469.
Killeen Avon Beauty Center
Location: 2006 N. W.S. Young Drive, Suite 12
Hours: 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. and 2 p.m. to 6 p.m. Monday to Friday, 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturday.
More information: Contact the store at (254) 200-2897 or owner C.J. Reed at firstname.lastname@example.org.