LAKE GENEVA - If you are looking for a fun-filled, one-of-a-kind, uniquely “scent”ual experience, the Candle Mercantile in downtown Lake Geneva may very well spark your interest. If you are the person who seeks out the perfect candle for each room in your living space, or aromas to reflect the seasons, this is a not to be missed visit.
With more than 90 fragrances to choose from, the Candle Mercantile provides an opportunity to create a custom fragrance designed by you, for you (perhaps as a signature scent), or a custom scented gift for someone special or a special occasion.
I first enjoyed this candle making experience with my sister, Wendy Rauscher, as one of our “Sister Day Adventures.” We learned that the candle bar can serve as a venue for a hirls’ getaway, a bridal shower or bachelorette party, birthday celebration, even a corporate team building event.
On this visit, I had the pleasure of meeting co-owner Liz Doyle, who walked us through the candle creation process as she shared a bit about this entrepreneurial leap of faith she made two years ago with her business partner and best friend, Leigh Ann Myers.
Liz and her husband and two children had lived in Lake Geneva for 10 years, making a move from Mequon due to her husband’s work situation. Previously employed by L’Oréal for 17 years in sales and management, she was looking for a change.
Along with her best friend, Leigh Ann Myers, who had seen a similar business model in Pittsburgh, the women decided Lake Geneva provided the perfect home for this new venture, and an opportunity to apply their business expertise.
“We needed an exit strategy out of corporate America. Lake Geneva needed something like this, something that was an ‘experience’ for people,” shared Doyle. “We wanted to do something fun, that would bring people together to be creative and make memories.”
Speaking from experience, I believe they can consider this mission accomplished. My first visit with sister Wendy was so delightful, I returned at the beginning of the summer with daughter Erica Leck, daughter-in-law Sarah Reedy and granddaughter Cora Reedy as a Lovely Lynn Ladies Get Away (we all have Lynn as our middle name).
I made reservations for our visit (highly recommended) and we arrived to find our places at the candle bar sanitized and completely set up for our arrival with the tools necessary for our candle making. Beverages (including wine) and snacks, such as a cheese board, are available to enjoy during the process, appealing to more senses and contributing to the social aspect as well.
With over 90 aroma options featured on scent shelves, we sniffed everything from agave to vanilla, brandy and dark chocolate to fruitier choices like cherry blossom, peach and key lime. Representing three generations of individual styles and scent preferences in our little group, the options available did not disappoint.
So step one, we made a list of our preferences, which the experienced staff helped us pare down to more workable combinations. Daughter-in-law, Sarah, arrived at a combination of olive blossom and lavender. Granddaughter Cora chose cake batter, caramel and maple syrup, while daughter Erica landed on coffee bean, vanilla bean and black & tan. Yours truly went for a cleaner scent this time of champagne and grapefruit. Proof positive that we were all able to create our unique signature scents.
Step 2 in this creative process involved selecting our candle containers. Popular choices for our group included amber glass with a wood top, or white glass with a black lid.
Assembling everything at the candle bar, essential oils were measured and stirred into a candle base mixture as we determined which scents might be more dominant, or evenly distributed. We were also given labels to decorate and name our creations to reflect our personality. Our colorful Cora added a rainbow, while daughter Erica labeled her creation “The Lynn”.
Cora said “it was so much fun”, while Erica noted “It was a very fun, family friendly experience. The entire process was smooth and the staff did most of the work.” Sarah shared that she found this “a refreshing way to enjoy the company of the ones you love.” And she enjoyed drinking wine and smelling scents.
The candles are promoted as “clean burning, true-to-scent, and long lasting. All hand poured (by us), designed to burn perfectly every time. We also learned additional products include reed diffusers, wax tarts, sprays and fragrance oils.
The last step in this process involves allowing the candles to “cure” for 90 minutes to 2 hours.
Located at 870 W. Main Street, Candle Mercantile is conveniently situated for both the candle making process, as well as proximity to local shops and eateries, which is a win-win for the local economy and provides a delightful way to pass more time together within a couple blocks walking distance. Indeed, the Lovely Lynn Ladies engaged in some retail therapy.
When asked about her favorite aspect of the business, owner Liz Doyle replied “Meeting so many different people, and watching people have fun!” She shares that their hash tags are #pourcandles and #drinkwine.
During our visit we witnessed the same as a bridal party arrived to create signature scents for the wedding, and couples were enjoying a candle making date.
A highlight for Doyle and Myers was receiving the Rising Star award from the city as the most up and coming new business!