Candelles, a handmade soy candle company, is set to graduate from their space within the CAN BE Innovation Center in March and expand to a 6,800 square-foot facility in the CAN DO Corporate Center just a little over three years after it entered the regional small business incubator.
Since moving into CAN BE in November of 2017, Candelles went from operating out of a 900 square-foot office to covering 2,500 square feet and not only producing and shipping their own products but also handling fulfillment services for a hand-lettered goods company called Chalkfulloflove.
Candelles founders Kelley Major and C.J. Graaf, said the amenities and services that CAN BE offers helped her company go from a start-up that once operated out of the kitchen in her home to the thriving business it is today.
“CAN BE's facility has been an awesome starting point to begin scaling Candelles. By providing us a utility-included rent option that increased yearly as we grew, and having the flexibility to grow from 900 square feet to 2,500 square feet, it really made the jump from a small office space to an actual warehouse setting seem much less daunting,” she said. “If you're looking for somewhere to help make the dream of owning a business a reality, CAN BE is a great starting point. They can assist in helping form your business and all the red tape that goes behind it, as well as connect you with helpful services local to the community. They also provide start-ups the opportunity to get out of their homes or garages and create a more professional working space, which can be crucial to making your dream business a reality,”
Major said the opportunity to network with other local business owners and receive the services Candelles needed to grow was another valuable asset of what CAN BE provided them. “We're very grateful to have been introduced to Greg Fox of Best Cigar Prices, who gave us a tour of their facilities and helped explain some of the inner workings of their production processes, and connected with Discover NEPA, who is always showcasing an assortment of great local businesses in the NEPA area,” she said.
Despite the challenges that small businesses have faced during the COVID-19 pandemic, Major said Candelles has seen steady growth during the last 18 months and the company currently has a staff of seven, including Graaf and herself. There was a total of 10 people on staff during the busy holiday season and she hopes to increase that to 15-20 people by the end of this year to handle work for both Candelles and Chalkfulloflove.
“With many people being home due to the pandemic, people are finding comfort from our candles, giving them something to brighten their day, and we couldn't be happier to be spreading light during these uncertain times,” Major said. “With Chalkfulloflove, they started out of Austin, Texas, and began a relationship with Candelles when we worked on a custom candle together. After they began seeing sizable growth and needed to expand and streamline their fulfillment, I had the idea of taking on that aspect of their business to help them grow as efficiently as possible. This has been a win-win for both of our small businesses because it also helps Candelles keep steady, year-round employment for our production team because we tend to be busy on a more seasonal basis.”
Candelles 6,800 square-foot space in the CAN DO Corporate Center includes a large, open warehouse with a loading dock and second-floor office space. Major said by more than doubling its space, Candelles will be able to service more customers and cut its operating costs. “With this additional space, we will be able to handle a larger volume of orders each month, can cut our cost-of-goods-sold by purchasing a greater quantity of inventory to keep on hand, and have the flexibility to expand during our busier, seasonal months,” she said.
As Candelles prepares to graduate from its space in the Innovation Center to the Corporate Center facility, CAN DO Director of Economic Development Jocelyn Sterenchock said it has been very rewarding to watch the company expand. “It has been amazing to watch their business grow over the last three years and I am looking forward to their continued economic contributions to the region,” she said.
For more information on Candelles and to view their current product line, visit their website at www.candelles.com.