WESTLAKE, Ohio – The Bonne Bell Co., a cosmetic company aimed at the youth market is closing, and 91 employees are expected to be permanently laid off.
Mayor Dennis Clough’s office confirmed the news, saying while he has yet to reach the company’s CEO, he received a letter yesterday from Robert Evans, Bonne Bell’s chief operating officer and chief financial officer.
The letter said Bonne Bell Co. “will be permanently laying off employees and closing substantially all manufacturing and distribution operations at the facility located at 1006 Crocker Road in Westlake Ohio. in connection with the sale of a significant portion of the business,” Clough said. “As a result of the layoffs and closing of the manufacturing operations we anticipate that 91 employees will be permanently laid off.”
Layoffs are expected to take place March 29th, according to the letter that also said some employees will be needed longer to help with the transition.
The Bonne Bell Co. announced in a press release that California-based Markwins International Corp. has entered into an agreement to acquire Aspire Brands assets Bonne Bell and Lip Smacker.
“Markwins has a proven track record of creating excitement and bringing innovation to the cosmetic category,” said Jess “Buddy” Bell, Jr., founder of Aspire Brands. “They will bring the same excitement and innovation to the Lip Smacker and Bonne Bell brands. I am excited about the future of the Lip Smacker and Bonne Bell brands under Markwins ownership.”
The company could not be reached for comment.
“It’s disappointing, especially for employees that have been affected,” Clough said. “But I also recognize that Bonne Bell Co. has been a great employer for decades in this area. I believe that they will do whatever they can to assist the affected employees.”
“Being a family-run business they definitely have been involved in this community in so many positive ways. We would like to encourage the new owners to somehow have some presence in this area,” he said.
Markwins International is the owner of several successful brands in North America, including Wet n Wild, Physicians Formula, Black Radiance and The Color Workshop.
Bonne Bell Co. is in its third generation of family leadership. Founded in 1927 by Jesse Bell, he named it after his daughter. Lip Smacker, created in 1973, was the world’s first flavored lip gloss.
Bell directed the company toward the youth market from the very beginning, long before other cosmetic companies viewed it as trendy. The company was also known for hiring older people in the workplace.
Bonne Bell released more than 800 Lip Smacker flavors in 50 countries in the last four decades. Some have been reformulated best sellers (with improved sweeteners and other ingredients), but most are unique spins on fruits, candy, ice cream, snacks, soda pop and more.