MBJ SMALL BUSINESS SPOTLIGHT: The Candle and Gift Shoppe
by Laura Smith
Published: June 6,2010
Hobby turns into a success story
Goodnight says six days a week and sometimes on Sundays is not too much for something you love
Having sold the family furniture business in 1997 after 23 years in operation, Linda Goodnight needed a hobby.
Her brother and his wife bought her a candle-making kit from a hobby store. Now, 13 years later, her Batesville-based business — called The Candle and Gift Shoppe — has expanded three times and distributes the handmade, scented pillar and soy candles from California to Alabama.
“This was just going to be a hobby, and now I’ve got a full-time job,” she said.
The candles are made daily in the back of the shop by using two 150-pound, 180-degree wax tanks. Special care has to be paid that layers are poured at precisely the right time.
“It’s total trial and error,” Goodnight said. “My husband and stepson thought it was an easy job, but you can’t leave the candles. Temperature, humidity…anything will affect them.”
The retail shop grew from strictly selling her homemade candles to other items when Goodnight was shopping for silver candle holders. She found the candle holders and added the line, and others subsequently followed suit.
“Retail is just a part of my life,” she said. “I went from selling the store to playing with candles. I’d worked all my life and thought I’d just try to stay home. That didn’t work — I missed people.”
The shop now carries Good Earth Pottery, Mud Pie Pottery, Etta B pottery, Vera Bradley bags, Tag dinner- and glassware, Emily Ray jewelry, Matt and Nat accessories, Tervis Tumblers and Brushfire artwork.
This time of year is busiest for Goodnight and her employees, as the shop offers bridal registry. Many customers search for graduation and Mother’s Day gifts. Customers are also looking for luggage and accessories for summer vacation.
The Candle and Gift Shoppe, which her nephew helped name, now offers monogramming on items in the store and items brought in for customers.
Working in retail comes naturally for the 59-year-old. Her father purchased Home Furniture in 1975, and the store was later renamed Warren Furniture.
Goodnight is right at home in her shop, with her mother — who won’t accept payment — working alongside her most days.
Her parents both worked in retail, and in high school, Goodnight worked at Plaza Jewelers.
“I was 16-years-old and I said, ‘I’ll never do this,’” she said. “Well, I’m back in it so never say ‘never’… I guess I got it in my blood.”
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