Wylodean Linder to retire after 30+ years at downtown business
February 12, 2023
For more than three decades, Wylodean Linder has been the face of Alva's Merle Norman – the cute, well-known cosmetics boutique she purchased back in 1990. Positioned on the west side of the downtown square, the store continues to draw people in, but this time not for makeup or skincare. Instead, the doors are open now because they are preparing to close as Linder readies for retirement. So, for now, shoppers can find non-cosmetic items for sale, such as gift items, store displays, and fixtures. (Merle Norman cosmetic products required sending back per contractual terms.)
Though her time with Merle Norman spans decades, Linder's other career within the election system goes back a tad further. She began her path toward elections administration in May 1988, joining the system as chief clerk. In '90, she bought the cosmetic store, and then, starting in 1993, she served as secretary of the Woods County Election Board. During the early '90s, Linder became active with the Alva Chamber of Commerce and served on both the Retail and Public Relations Committees. In 1997, she was voted Alva's Citizen of the Year. In addition, she has been known for her outstanding service to the community, serving as part of the Northwestern Oklahoma State University Foundation, the Woods County Democratic Women, and the American Heart Association. Linder is also a longtime member of the First Christian Church.
Linder, now nearing 90 years of age, said she figures 33 years is a long enough time to be in business. "I guess that's correct," she says when thinking of this as moving on to the next chapter of her life.
Her plan now, besides staying home and taking it easy, is to enjoy family – especially the ballgames of the littlest ones in the family. She shares four children with her late husband, the Honorable Judge Ray Dean Linder. (Their mariage lasted almost 65 years until his passing in 2021.) They are (the late) Jay Linder, Jana [Pitt], Jon [Linder], and Julia [Schrock]. Between the three surviving children, four grandchildren were born, and from them, three great-grandchildren. (The latter will keep their great-grandma busy with ballgames.)
Linder said she hopes someone will buy and continue the Merle Norman franchise, citing the importance of keeping businesses in town and the buildings full.
"I have loved being in business in Alva, and I've got great customers, beautiful customers. I love them! I hope they will continue shopping with Merle Norman."