Lakewood, OH 44107

The familiar city and zip code that graced the tubes and packages of Bonne Bell products all over the world, for over four decades is located in Cleveland, Ohio's westside suburbs in Cuyahoga County. A place where a world of magic, love and integrity was very present in the community and around the world. I recently took a trip past the old Bonne Bell corporate offices in Lakewood, Ohio located on the corner of Detroit Avenue and Graber Avenue. Modeled after Georgetown Row the building definitely stands out on the old block and is rich with history.

Main entrance to Bonne Bell's Georgetown Row offices
Windows outside of where the Bonne Bell retail shop once was

J.G. Bell, who founded Bonne Bell Cosmetics, bought the block back in the 1940's for Bonne Bell's headquarters. It wasn't until 1965 that Georgetown Row was built, to replace the former building, and serve as Bonne Bell's corporate offices and retail store all the way until 2011 when Bonne Bell/Aspire Brands sold the property and moved everything over to their warehouse in Westlake, Ohio. The warehouse and extended offices at 1006 Crocker Road in Westlake was built much later in 1976 and was where the majority of their manufacturing for most of their cosmetics happened and where they poured many Lip Smacker batches for decades. 

I was lucky enough to be able to have visited Georgetown Row when Bonne Bell owned the property sometime around the year 2000 and visited many times after. This building and area holds so much of Bonne Bell's heritage and has such a serene feel being here even 8 years after they sold the property. I remember so vividly walking through the door and it having a very familiar and warm smell. Was it Skin Musk or Shower 2000? I don't know exactly but it was a smell that was so welcoming.

 A receptionist greeted you as soon you walked in the door. To the left was an ornate waiting room filled with walls decorated with pictures of the Bell family, as well as beautiful antiques and directly to the right a beautiful spiral staircase I always dreamed to go up, that lead to the company's library (can you imagine the treasures that were in there!?). Past that was the door way to Bonne Bell's retail shop, a place where dreams are made of. Many glass cases featuring vintage products and of course, the big glass case behind the antique register featuring many of the original 1970's Lip Smackers collection on display. Mrs. Bell who ran the shop would let me open it, with my eyes as wide as can be and smell all the flavors. Naturally, they also had the most current Bonne Bell planogram on the walls with displays all over the room. One fond memory was a time Mrs. Bell took us to a secret room and it was right around the New Year right before all of the new product launches were sent out to stores and she let us shop all of the brand new Bonne Bell and Lip Smacker products that were still in boxes! Talk about VIP treatment! They also had many older displays and if you were lucky you could find some older products and collections for sale still. Bonne Bell also had a smaller warehouse in the back where they held their biannual warehouse sales for many years before moving them over to their Westlake warehouse.

A candy bar where the former wine and cheese shop once was
The legendary Mr. Jess A. Bell himself in the Bonne Bell shop. Photos above courtesy of Cleveland Seniors, 2001

At one point there was a smaller room (shown in the above picture behind Mr. Bell) attached to the store that had a ton of discontinued and limited edition Bonne Bell and Lip Smacker products in it and I remember that's how I discovered some really rare items, like Smackers glycerin soap bars as well as a treasure trove of other amazing finds. Take a closer look at some of the rare products in the image below and see what you can spot.

My personal (edited) photo of a dear friend in the retail shop at Georgetown Row circa 2002


In my archives I have more pics I've taken during my Georgetown Row visits that I will eventually dig up and share. I have so many precious memories of visiting Bonne Bell at Georgetown Row and the amazing people there that made it such an exciting experience. I am so grateful to have been able to make many trips to the shop and warehouse sales over the years and I have made memories that will forever be with me. Below are a few more photos inside the Georgetown Row building including the Bonne Bell plaque that remained on the outside of the building until the sale of it in 2011. Photos below are from this article 'Bonne Bell Turning Out the Lights on its Lakewood Location'.

The lobby inside the main entrance where the receptionist greeted you 

Jesse Grover Bell and (his son) Jess A. Bell respectfully

Bonne Bell plaque outside of main entrance of Georgetown Row
Bonne Bell ad inviting you to Georgetown Row, 1974

Check out this article reprinted by Lakewood Lore from a July 1989 newspaper article about Bonne Bell's iconic Georgetown Row.


Popular Posts