Dallas-founded global cosmetics giant Mary Kay Inc. opened its new $100 million international research, manufacturing and distribution center in Lewisville today.

Seeking to stay local and retain its employees while expanding from its original base of operations in Dallas, Mary Kay Inc. announced plans to build a new manufacturing and distribution center in Lewisville in November 2015. The city pitched in with economic incentives after the fact, including a 90 percent property tax rebate on improvements made to the 26.6 acre tract of land the facility rests on.

U.S. Congressman Michael Burgess (R- Lewisville), County Judge Mary Horn, Precinct 3 Commissioner Bobbie Mitchell, LISD’s Kronda Thimesch and almost the entire Lewisville City Council was on-hand for the opening.

“Mary Kay Corporation has a long and distinguished history,” Mayor Rudy Durham said in his remarks before the ribbon cutting. “Lewisville is proud to be a part of the company’s exciting new chapter. Again, welcome to Lewisville. We’re happy you are here.”

Additionally, Mary Kay pledged $15,000 annually to Lewisville to help establish and run an entrepreneurship program at Lewisville High School. The city officially entered an agreement with Lewisville ISD to establish the curriculum earlier this year.

Mary Kay CEO David Holl said helping to establish an entrepreneurship program was natural, given that Mary Kay is one of the largest multi-level marketing companies in the world.

“We essentially have 3 million or so beauty consultants, and they are micro business owners, and hopefully they turn into macro business owners,” Holl said. “So, we view it as a business, but those people have to be entrepreneurs, and there definitely needs to be an entrepreneur mindset, in our opinion, of people coming out of school, and that’s an interest that we have as a company to get people to think more and more about being an entrepreneur, not necessarily just following the same track that everyone followed 20 or 30 years ago.”

Mary Kay executives and elected officials pose outside the new Mary Kay distribution center in Lewisville. (Photo by Leopold Knopp)

The facility will house everything Mary Kay does related to developing and shipping its products, from research to testing to manufacturing to distribution. Scientists will develop new skin products that may not leave the building for several years, growing their own skin cells to test the products on. Every Mary Kay product must be safe, comply with the laws of dozens of different countries and be durable enough to survive anywhere and any delivery mishaps. Products are heated, frozen, exposed to high humidity, shaken and dropped, all at this facility.

Mary Kay maintains manufacturing centers in China for distribution in that country, but every other product made for every other country that Mary Kay sells in will have its start in this facility once the transfer is complete.

The advantages of the new facility are, in a word, consolidation. Mary Kay started humbly in Dallas, and when its facilities needed to expand, the company simply bought another adjacent property. As such, workers had to make do with the facility they had. Now, they have the facility they want.

“Imagine you had three houses, and they were all right next to each other, but your kitchen is in one house, and [your ingredients] is in another,” vice president of operations Shawn Hopper explained. “You’re probably going to burn a lot of stuff.”

Other vice presidents also praised the purpose-built facility, with vice president of product development Terry Jacks saying this is the first time in more than 20 years the company’s entire research and development department has been housed under the same roof.

The facility is already operational, with many employees already at work and some even stopping to watch the ribbon cutting from their window. The company still maintains employees at its Dallas location, but expects to have everyone transitioned to Lewisville by the first quarter of next year.

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