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After 42 years, Marie Derman retires from role as Avon lady

Her mother and her best friend were Avon ladies back in the 1960s. So, it's no wonder Marie Derman followed suit in June 1967. That's when her children were launched in grade school.

Her mother and her best friend were Avon ladies back in the 1960s. So, it's no wonder Marie Derman followed suit in June 1967. That's when her children were launched in grade school.

And now, after 42 years, Derman is retiring. She looks back on the days when most women were home, and she could go calling on them. There were fewer choices back then. The company had only a couple of lines of foundations. Now, it has makeup targeted for all skin types and all preferences. And the Avon ladies deal with jewelry, clothing, gifts for the home and kids gifts.

Derman changed with the times. She started out distributing catalogs every two weeks and taking orders by phone or in person. Later on, her customers would e-mail their orders to her. Using the computer revolutionized her business. She could take orders from anyone in the country. It gave her flexibility to be available to her children and, later on, her grandchildren.

Derman was one of 460 Avon representatives in this district with Janna Swanson as sales manager. And there are four districts in North Dakota. Swanson said there is always room for more. She said the income varies because each representative sets her own pace and her own goals. Some decide they want only a personal account. Others sell more than $55,000 a year.

Swanson said Derman has grown an extensive customer base and has been loyal to her customers. "With the help of her husband, Milt, they were a great team," Swanson said. "She never missed a sales meeting, and she would come ready to share."


Life will be different without Avon. But Marie and Milt Derman enjoy Sioux sports. They follow the Vikings and the Twins games. She gets involved in crossword and Sudoku puzzles. Then there's Scrabble. In the summer, she tends her flower garden. Being involved in various ministries at Grace Baptist Church is important to her.

Weekend on ice

The last weekend of January is at hand, and Sioux fans will meet at noon to hear the coaches' views on the weekend series of hockey with Denver University. And the 42nd Street Symphony will be on hand. ... The Greater Grand Forks Symphony Orchestra will present its Old and New concert Saturday evening in First Presbyterian Church. ... And the pins will be flying Sunday during the Bowling Classic.

Ask Marilyn?

Q. How many dogs and cats were licensed in Grand Forks last year?

A. There were 114 cats and 754 dogs. But I think there are more than that.

Q. What are they serving for lunch in East Grand Forks schools today?

A. Grilled cheese, tomato soup, crackers, tossed salad, fruit, veggies and milk.


Q. Do many people know the words to "Stand Up and Cheer" that you hear at all the Sioux games?

A. No. Many of them just sort of mumble along. The words are like this: Stand up and cheer. ... Stand up and cheer for North Dakota. ... Pledge your loyalty. ... For she's your Alma Mater true. ... Our team is fighting. ... And we will help to see it thru. ... We've got the team. ... We've got the steam. ... So, North Dakota, here's to you.

Q. Do you believe in the groundhog?

A. I think he has more credibility than the Tooth Fairy. They will pull out the groundhog Tuesday in Punxsutawney, Pa. Whether it sees its shadow just doesn't matter. We still will have six more weeks of winter in some parts of the country and eight more weeks in Grand Forks. Then, we will have the season of mud, also known as spring.

Darrel and Tara

Cheerful person of the week: Darrel Koehler. Runner up: Tara Mertz.

Reach Hagerty at mhagerty@gra.midco.net or by telephone at (701) 772-1055.

Related Topics: AVON
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