Founder of Pro-Line ethnic hair care brand dies at age 82
DALLAS — Leading businessman and founder of Pro-Line ethnic hair care brand, Comer Cottrell Jr., died on Oct. 3 of natural causes at his Dallas home, the Dallas Morning News reported. He was 82 years old.
Cottrell founded Pro-Line, a Dallas-based ethnic hair-care brand, in 1970.
As a former manager for an Air Force military exchange, a major retail outlet for the military, Cottrell saw a need for hair care products for African American servicemen and women and their families. He was one of the first to open the market for African-American cosmetics in military exchanges.
Pro-Line later relocated from Gardena, Calif., to Dallas. The company grew to be international and, in 2000, he sold Pro-Line to Alberto Culver for $80 million, the newspaper reported.
Considered a pioneer on several fronts, Cottrell was a successful businessman known for his educational philanthropy. Over the years he also forged numerous political friendships from City Hall to the White House, the Dallas Morning News reported.
Commenting on Cottrell’s death, Robert L. Johnson, founder of Black Entertainment Television and founder and chairman of the RLJ Cos., stated, “The country lost a great and dynamic leader in Comer Cottrell who built the Pro-Line hair care business into one of the top hair care brands for African-American men and women. But to me, the founder of Black Entertainment Television (BET), I lost a great friend, who, as a visionary and innovative marketing executive, became the first hair care owner to make the decision to advertise his hair care products on BET during its infancy.
"Comer and I became not only business affiliates, but more importantly, we became close friends. I learned a lot by working with Comer. He was a brilliant businessman, a strong advocate of minority business opportunity, and a committed philanthropist to his local community and to national minority organizations.
"Comer's legacy is well-known to his family and friends and I believe it should be shared with all America."