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The Encyclopedia of Cleveland History

BONNE BELL, INC. - The Encyclopedia of Cleveland History

BONNE BELL, INC., founded in 1927 by Jesse Grover Bell, grew into a $50 million cosmetics business by promoting a wholesome image and a "Be fit. Look good." philosophy. Bell, a cosmetics salesman from Salinas, KS, came to Cleveland and began the company, which he named after his daughter. He made his products on a hot plate in his basement and sold them door to door during the Depression. Originally, the Bonne Bell line offered skin-care products primarily to the young, but beginning in the 1950s the company actively pursued the outdoor market and developed sun blockers, heavy-duty moisturizers, and lip protectors for skiers, hikers, and joggers. As a promoter of the outdoor life, Bonne Bell sponsored the U.S. Ski Team in the 1960s and backed many amateur and professional sports events. Beginning in 1972 the company has sponsored 10K marathons in 15 cities and many charitable races, but scaled back many of these efforts in the mid-1980s. By 1985 the family owned and operated business had grown into a $50 million enterprise.

In 1992 Bonne Bell had its main offices at 18519 Detroit Ave. in LAKEWOOD, and since 1976 operated a manufacturing and warehouse facility on Crocker Rd. in WESTLAKE. Three years later, the company completed a $1.4 million renovation at its plant in Westlake, which enabled Bonne Bell to move some operations based in Canada back to the Ohio facility. In 2002, the company's founder, Jesse Bell-himself a long-time running enthusiast-was name the honorary chairman of the Moondog Marathon, which is expected to make its Cleveland debut in May 2004.

Last Modified: 18 Aug 2003 11:29:24 AM

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