Driving up to Blue Mountain Candle Company, one thing was obvious: It was a candle-making day. The smell of freshly-poured candles drifted into the parking lot and onto nearby Route 209, tempting all who drove by with the scent of apple spice, sage and citrus oils.
While Blue Mountain Candle is now under new ownership, many things remain the same. All of the store's candle products are made on site at its Lehighton retail store, just as they have been for the past 12 years. Each candle is individually wicked and hand-poured by a local employee.
"Every candle, every size and scent, is made right here," said Cecilia Koerbler, the new owner of Blue Mountain Candle Co. "It's always been this way. By hand pouring, we can control the quality of each candle. They're making sure that the wicks are straight for a straight burn, and that the right amount of wax goes into each jar."
She noted that hand-pouring and pouring smaller batches also ensures that each candle's scent is equally strong and pure. Mixing and pouring larger batches, or pouring candles by machine in an assembly line, can sometimes mean that some candles have less oil and a weaker scent while burning.
"If you buy a candle from us and come in six months to buy another candle, you'll find the same quality. They have a good scent and a good burn," she said.
Tucked behind the Lehighton store's main retail area is the candle-pouring room, set up to allow employees to pour, cool and label hundreds of candles each day. While many candles are still hand-poured from a pitcher, they recently added a machine that allows employees to automatically pour the correct amount of wax and scent into each jar. The machine can be calibrated for 24-ounce, 14-ounce, or 8-ounce glass jars. The store also offers votive and tart candles.
Blue Mountain Candle Co. currently employs three people in its manufacturing process, and plans to expand to five employees during the busy holiday season.
"Each of our candle makers has been here at least 10 years," adds Koerbler. "We all work as a team."
While Koerbler has been a part of Blue Mountain Candle Co. since its founding 12 years ago, she became the store's official full-time owner in September.
"I'm looking forward to maintaining the same quality, and to helping our business grow," she added. Koerbler was part of the store's inspiration and launch in 2001. She began exploring candle making with family members by melting one-pound blocks of wax and adding different scents.
"I always liked burning candles and thought it would be fun to make our own. We just started making candles in our home, and experimenting with different wax mixtures and scents."
They gradually learned more about the manufacturing process and discovering the best ways to create a high-quality candle. Just a few years later, they would use this knowledge to pour the first candles for Blue Mountain Candle Co.
"Our wax blend is a superior wax blend. Our scents are made with the highest quality oils. It's also a more economic candle, made with the same quality as higher priced brands," she said.
While Koerbler is proud of her company's products, she also is happy to remain a local business owner and employer.
"I grew up in Palmerton. I've enjoyed being a small company and like employing local people," she said. "It's been good for the community. I'm hoping that we continue to grow, so that we can continue to employ locally and work with other local businesses."
Blue Mountain Candle Co. products can be found at the store's original retail store in Lehighton. They also provide candles to area businesses for resale, and maintain a thriving fundraising program for area schools and groups.
"Fundraisers are a major portion of our business. We're always looking to help local schools and organizations," she said.
Blue Mountain also works with groups holding smaller fundraisers to raise money for medical expenses or a local disaster.
Blue Mountain Candle Co. is located at 570 Interchange Road in Lehighton. For more information about fundraisers or their retail store, call (610) 379-2014.