The Norman Transcript

June 9, 2013

Women entrepreneurs celebrate 25 years

By Arianna Pickard
The Norman Transcript

NORMAN — For 25 years a group of Norman women have shared support and advice with each other as they take on the business world. The Norman Women Entrepreneurs Network will celebrate its 25th anniversary with an open house party from 4 to 7 p.m. on June 14, at the Rotary House at 1531 Boyd Street, said Roberta Leeper, the only member who has been active in the group since its founding in 1988.

The open house will provide food, drink and an opportunity for Norman businesswomen to network with others who have years of experience in the field.

Leeper, for example, has been running a cosmetics and jewelry shop in Norman since the 1960s. She’s watched the city grow and change since her business opened on Robinson Street 45 years ago.

“In 45 years Norman has changed unbelievably,” she said.

Sharing a property with three other businesses, her shop flourished with skin care products, health drinks and jewelry that couldn’t be found anywhere else in town.

“Back then it was unbelievable... I had the only type of business like that in Norman,” she said. “I look back then and I cannot believe the business I had for many years.”

Located across from the hospital, she remembers her shop being frequented by doctors, nurses, bankers, lawyers and business people who couldn’t get enough of her one-of-a-kind products.

In 1985 she moved to her current location on Gray Street, and though over the years all kinds of skin care shops have opened up in Norman, Leeper doesn’t feel any threat because she knows she offers the best service and products around.

“Some places you go into, they do not give you the service ... I have the best product, best prices, and the best service,” she said with a wink of her eye.

Leeper knows how to make her customers feel special, offering hugs and chocolate to each person who enters the store.

“Everything I have in here are things to make people look or feel better,” she said. “Skin care makes you look better; diamonds make you feel better.”

Leeper has years of business experience under her belt few others can claim, but the age of women in the Norman Women Entrepreneurs Network range from the 30s on up.

The types of businesses run by women in the group vary as much as the age of the members, from wealth management and financial representatives to specialty balloon designs and organic coffees.

Members of the group meet the first Wednesday of each month for dinner, usually at Zio’s Italian Kitchen, with a guest speaker to discuss topics of interest to businesswomen, Leeper said. Women interested in joining can visit a meeting, eat dinner paid for by the members, and then fill out an application.

The president of the group is Lynn Droescher, president-elect is Marcia Crook, secretary is Cindy Wood, treasurer is Roberta Leeper and director-at-large is Jackie Farley.