published Tuesday, June 26th, 2012

Dayton, Tenn., candle store offers flavorful scents

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    Stacey Mitchell, owner of Mountain Candles in downtown Dayton, Tenn., displays a golf club-handled mug that she can use for holding a handmade candle. Mitchell offers a variety of mugs and containers that customers can choose for personalized gifts. Photo by Kimberly McMillian
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• Name: Mountain Candles

• Location: 1390 Market St. in downtown Dayton, 423-428-9500

• Hours of operation: 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., Tuesday through Friday and 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday

• Products: Candles in 8-ounce and 12-ounce jars; candle tarts and warmers; spa line soaps (made mostly with goats' milk); Hillbilly wine jars, made with Ball mason jars; Bradford pear wooden coasters; bottle cap and photo handmade jewelry; fundraiser-order options available.

• Owner: Stacey Mitchell, 47

• Inspiration behind the name: Mitchell said that she wanted "something simple." Since she lived on Dayton Mountain and had originally made the candles in her kitchen for Christmas gifts last year, she sought inspiration from the comforts of home.

• Startup investment: $1,500 to order wax and wicks, along with the scents and jars initially. Now, she can purchase the supplies in bulk from an outside source, she said, to lower her costs.

• Prices: $2.99 for coasters, up to $35 for handmade photo necklaces

• Target market: All ages, Mitchell said, since candles are inclusive to men. She said men love the musky, firewood scent and the coffee mug candles or the 'Hillbilly' wine jars.

• Biggest challenge: "I was fearful to start with" making the investment, Mitchell said, since she works full-time in Chattanooga, and currently she has a family member help run the store during weekdays.

• Lesson learned: Mitchell said that "cheap is not always better, and that people appreciate a good-smelling candle that lasts from start to finish."

• Advice for others: "If you have a passion for something, follow your dreams," she said.

• Five-year goal: She said that she'd like to franchise into neighboring cities, like a fellow store owner had done, and that she hopes "to have my bills paid off" and work toward retirement.

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