Candle Makers aims to reach the entire community

Candle Makers on the Square opened in 2007 and serves as a place where local artists can sell their work as well as a candle workshop. They offer over 70 unique scents and allow shoppers to bring in their own container for their preferred scent to be poured in.

Laurel Deppen

Despite its name, Candle Makers on the Square has a goal that goes beyond simply making candles.

The shop, located in the heart of downtown Bowling Green, aims to provide quality local products while bringing the community together.

Once customers walk into the shop, they are immediately greeted by the scent of candles. The back of the store is used as a candle-making studio.

Candlemaker Karen Hesson has worked for Candle Makers since 2009. She said her daughter, Becky Watts, taught her the trade. She called her daughter’s ability to create scents amazing.

Hesson is currently the only person making candles. She said the process takes three days, and she enjoys it because she loves cooking. She emphasized that there’s a lot more to candles than people might think.

Hesson said her process is carefully calculated and requires precision.

“I pay attention to detail,” she said.

She said the candles she makes are of higher quality than commercial brands because they are hand-poured and burn longer.

“When I stir the wax, first I go counterclockwise to release the negativity and then clockwise to incorporate happiness,” Hesson said. “Every time you burn your candle it brings you joy.”

Though Candle Makers was originally started with the sole purpose of making and selling candles, it now places an emphasis on a variety of quality local items.

Hesson said while Watts no longer makes candles, she has a line of high-end jewelry sold at the store.

The shop also sells hand-carved comfort birds, bath bombs, soaps and many other gifts. The company aims to have diverse but focused products. Candle Makers attempts to sell primarily women’s products, while still being representative of the entire Bowling Green community.

Keep BG Weird, a campaign and brand focused on promoting what makes Bowling Green unique, sells their products in Candle Makers. They create stickers, coffee mugs and shirts and hope to celebrate the uniqueness of the city.

One of the company’s newest ventures is selling Ananda Hemp, a part of Kentucky Proud. According to its website, Ananda Hemp works closely with Kentucky farmers in ensuring a quality product. The website emphasizes “hemp not high,” correcting a common misconception about the product.

Candle Makers also acts as a small gallery for the work of artist Misha Ambrosia. Ambrosia is a Bowling Green native who owns a studio in Alvaton, Kentucky.

Above Candle Makers is the Candle Loft, a bed and breakfast that overlooks the square. The suite includes two bedrooms, a full bathroom, a kitchen, a dining area and a den. A night in the loft includes breakfast at Spencer’s Coffee, Lunch Box Cafe or Lisa’s Fifth Street Diner. Tenants also receive a candle from Candle Makers.

Dylan Carter said she started helping out at Candle Makers a few months ago. She emphasized the quality of the candles.

“I honestly had no idea the work and dedication it takes to make these candles,” Carter said. “It really just is an appreciation for it.”

Hesson says her husband calls her work days “playtime” because she enjoys it so much. Hesson emphasized that she loves her job because she’s able to be creative and talk to people.

She said she’s made connections with people in the community just by working at Candle Makers. She stressed the importance of the company’s role in the culture of Bowling Green.

“It gives back to the community, it really does,” Hesson said. “It helps everybody. It’s a ripple effect of how we touch people’s lives.”

Features reporter Laurel Deppen can be reached at 270-745-6291 and [email protected]