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Stuart Johnson, Deseret Morning News
The old Provo Pharmacy building on the corner of Center and 100 West in Provo is now a Nu Skin retail store. It opened just in time for the annual convention.

PROVO — A Hollywood fixture whose youthful looks belie his age is one of the celebrities in Utah this week to press flesh with the dedicated sales force of a firm that produces many goods that promise to defy — or at least delay — the aging process.

Dick Clark, the longtime host of "American Bandstand," is among the big-name stars scheduled to appear at Nu Skin Enterprise's weeklong convention, which began Tuesday and finishes Saturday with a party to celebrate the company's 20th anniversary.

Singer Olivia Newton-John also is scheduled to perform Friday.

So who will perform at Saturday's bash?

True to tradition, it is kept a secret until the last minute.

"Management likes to keep it under wraps until they make the announcement for the distributors," said Kara Schneck, a company spokeswoman.

Both events, along with convention workshops, will be held at the Salt Palace and Delta Center in Salt Lake City.

Held every 18 months, the Nu Skin convention attracts people from the 30 countries in which Nu Skin sells personal-care and nutritional products. Two-thirds of this year's 10,000 participants are from Asia, with 5,500 hailing from Japan alone.

Most will be in Provo today touring the Nu Skin corporate offices, warehouses and new Provo Product Center — a walk-in retail shop in the newly refurbished, historic Provo Pharmacy building. The store officially opens Feb. 25.

While the store is the first of its kind in the country, Nu Skin operates more than a hundred similar stores in Asia, Australia and New Zealand. It's not the preferred sales method for the organization or its 600,000 distributors, but Schneck said "geographies" make it a necessity.

The store carries all products from the company's three product lines: Nu Skin markets personal-care products under the Nu Skin brand, nutritional supplements under the Pharmanex brand, and business service and home-care products under the Big Planet brand.

Previously, Nu Skin consumers in Utah had to work through a local distributor to purchase the products, some of which are fairly expensive. Now, customers have the convenience of shopping at their leisure. However, a distributor is still part of the process.

Store employee Alan Michaelis explained that "anyone can come to the center, but they will be paired with a local distributor" who can place orders for customers in the future. Shoppers will also be required to give their personal information, which will be shared with distributors and used for "promotional mailings."

On Tuesday, most shoppers were distributors. Most purchased products not available in Asia because of import laws prohibiting certain ingredients.

"This stuff is cheaper here than in Japan," said Nao Kitagawa, a distributor from Osaka. "You can get almost anything there, but not everything I want for me."

Despite those limitations, business is booming in Asia, which brought in 82 percent of Nu Skin's $986.5 million annual income last year. Over $617 million of that was earned by distributors in Japan and Korea.

According to Schneck, the Japanese are drawn to Nu Skin products because of their discriminating skin-care product tastes and the allure of American goods.

"There's a wonderful entrepreneurial spirit in Asia. People recognize the rewards of working hard and building a business," said Schneck.

So does the notoriously youthful looking Clark use Nu Skin's creams and lotions?

"I don't know," Schneck said, "but we'll be sure to send him home with a lot of our products."

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