The lights are off and the shelves are nearly empty at the Merle Norman franchise located on 49th Street. The shop closed abruptly on Aug. 25 after the owner laid off staff without explanation, according to one former employee.
Brett McGarry/NNSL photo

Cosmetic and spa franchise Merle Norman abruptly shut its doors on Aug. 25, leaving both staff and customers in the dark for a few weeks, according to one former employee.

But now owner and operator of the business, Sasha Jason, has updated the public through a message on Facebook on Sept. 5.

“It is with a heavy heart and circumstances beyond my control, that I let you know that Merle Norman Yellowknife will be closing effective immediately,” Jason stated in her post.

Jason describes doing business in a small jurisdiction like Yellowknife “a challenge” but is grateful for the experience.

Stephanie Mary-Ann McCamley, who worked as an esthetician for Merle Norman for about one year, said she and her fellow employees did not see the closure coming.

“Two of the girls were working their shift on Sunday (Aug. 25), I had worked Saturday, and they found out at the end of their shift everyone has been terminated and I received a text message,” said McCamley.

Jason was the one who informed the employees of the doors closing, she said.

“She completely kept all of us in the dark,” said McCamley.

Prior the closing, there were a few indications that things were not going well at the franchise.

No signs hang in the window of the Merle Norman shop on 49th Street indicating when or if the shop will return. Attempts to contact the owner by staff or customers have been unsuccessful.
Brett McGarry / NNSL photo

“We kept on running out of products for services and I met with her about it, but she blamed the manager,” said McCamley.

“When I spoke to the manager, she said it was Sasha who was not putting orders through.”

The manager, who Yellowknifer reached out to, did not want to comment.

To add to the confusion surrounding the shop’s closure, Jason held a sale two weeks prior offering a series of packages and punch-passes for spa services.

Following the initial announcement of the closure on Aug. 27, many customers on on Facebook expressed frustration that they would not be able to spend their gift cards.

“I have a gift card for this, plus I would like to know now how I’m able to use it and not lose money as that’s pretty unfair,” mentioned one customer.

Six others commented on the thread in the Official YK Classifieds and Networking Facebook group that they had gift cards or purchased spa services that they cannot use.

Now Jason is stating she has a list of names she will be contacting over the next few weeks “to discuss arrangements.”

“For clients with any other questions please send me a direct message and I will do my best to get back to you in a timely manner,” stated Jason.

Yellowknifer reached out to Jason but has not received a response by press time.


Brett McGarry

Brett McGarry came to Yellowknife in early 2019 after graduating from Humber College with an advanced diploma in journalism. Currently he covers city council and local business. If you have a story idea...

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