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Women have a nose for business

May 14, 2003|by ANDREA ROWLAND

andrear@herald-mail.com

WILLIAMSPORT - For Cloverton Candle Co. owners Brenda Dubnik and Carmen Chesney, opening a store in Williamsport made good scents.

"We wouldn't want to be anywhere else," said Dubnik, who launched the fragrant business in her Cloverton Lane home about four years ago. "I love Williamsport, and I want to be a part of the town."

Cloverton Candle Co. celebrated its grand opening at 5 E. Salisbury St. on April 9.

The spacious shop is filled with a rainbow-colored assortment of more than 100 varieties of scented, long-burning candles, and bath and body products. In addition, the store features handmade crafts such as pillows, silk flower arrangements and lighted birdhouses, and gift items like balloons, potpourri burners, incense, greeting cards, and teapots and cups.

Dubnik and Chesney make the hand-poured, triple-scented candles and bath products in the shop's back room.

Dubnik built a thriving wholesale mail-order business after she started experimenting with candle-making in the basement of her Williamsport-area home in 1998, she said. In addition to working a full-time day job, she was making candles and shipping them to retailers up and down the East Coast and throughout the Tri-State area, she said.

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"I found a good formula and stuck with it," Dubnik said. "I make every candle like I'm making it for myself."

Due to time constraints, however, Dubnik found herself turning down wholesale orders. Her partnership with Chesney, who is her daughter-in-law, and the move to a storefront has enabled the business to meet its wholesale demands and grow in new directions, Dubnik said.

"We can do so much more now," she said.

The two already have begun producing a new line of bath and body products to complement their waxy creations. The line includes colorful moisturizing shampoos, conditioners, body sprays, soaps and bath bombs that "fizz like Alka-Seltzer" and make users feel like they're "sitting in a tub of silk," Dubnik said.

The bath products contain the same scents as the company's line of Homescents candles, with aromas ranging from fresh-cut grass to raspberry patchouli. Some of the candles smell good enough to eat, including the banana parfait, coconut cream, gingerbread, fudge brownie, butter cookie and hot apple pie varieties.

Others smell like baby powder, amaretto, iced cranberry, ocean, mango, lilac, vanilla, eucalyptus, lavender, wild rose and oak. The candles come in four sizes, and new fragrances are added often, Dubnik said.

She's now preparing a new line of Zodiac scents - fragrances that are supposed to be linked to astrological signs, she said.

Cloverton Candle Co. also offers candles for special occasions such as wedding receptions and dinner parties, as well as custom-filled gift baskets. Dubnik and Chesney will refill customers' empty candle containers with fresh wax. All gift-wrapping is free.

The store is open Mondays through Fridays from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Saturdays from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Other hours are by appointment only.

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