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Merrick business opens in honor of owner’s late son

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KB Beauty may seem like a quaint, quiet spot in Merrick for your beauty needs, but every aspect of the business — from the colors of the logo to the name itself — reflects a deeper meaning.

Lina Bonnen, a resident of Freeport, opened the spot on Merrick Road in December after the pandemic caused significant delays. Finally opening the business was, for her, more than a dream, she said. “It’s a legacy.”

Bonnen opened KB Beauty in honor of her late son, Kevin, who died by suicide in 2017 at the age of 18. “This is in his honor, in his legacy — and in fear of him being forgotten,” she said.

Kevin’s death was a shock to the Bonnen family, which includes his four brothers: Andres (27); Michael, Kevin’s twin (22); Johnathan (13); and Max (10). Opening KB Beauty was somewhat of a family project. With the help of her sons, Bonnen gutted and revamped the entire interior.

“This is something that can be passed down,” Andres said. “We’ll have kids someday and they’ll know they had an uncle, Kevin, and be proud of something.”

When guests walk in and ask about the business’ name — KB, for Kevin Bonnen — the family’s story is openly shared, Andres said. The logo also reflects Kevin in a few ways: wings mimicking the wings of an angel in white, orange and blue — colors that represent the loss of a child, the loss of a sibling and suicide prevention awareness, respectively. Even the address —1820 Merrick Road — bares significance, Bonnen said: Kevin died at age 18 on May 20, 2017.

KB Beauty offers several beautification services, including teeth whitening and laser hair removal. It’s a practice that gives customers a positive experience, which was an important aspect to Bonnen since the business is dedicated to her late son.

“It’s something that will make people feel good about themselves,” she said.

Bonnen signed the lease for the property in December 2019, but “I had no idea a pandemic was coming,” she said. Although her plans to open were delayed multiple times, she was finally able to open a year later.

Once KB Beauty is more established, the Bonnens plan to support suicide prevention efforts through the business, including sponsoring the Out of Darkness Walk in New York City, which was cancelled last year due to Covid-19.

“We’re going to spread awareness so people know there’s help out there,” said Andres, who operates KB’s marketing and social media.

The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline can be reached at 1-800-273-8255.