Make-your-own candle company expands Reno operation

CandleScience sells kits that contain everything necessary to pour candles at home, as well as a range of candle-making supplies.

CandleScience sells kits that contain everything necessary to pour candles at home, as well as a range of candle-making supplies.

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CandleScience’s repositioning from an outdated 15,000 square-foot warehouse on Linda Way in Sparks into a modern 96,000-square-foot distribution center in The Park at McCarran positions the candle-making company for tremendous growth among its western region customer base.

Founded nearly two decades ago in Durham, N.C., by brothers Daniel and Mike Swimm, CandleScience expanded to the West about seven years ago, said Corey Metoyer, CandleScience’s Nevada warehouse manager, during a tour of the company’s new facility. The former standout catcher at Galena High School joined CandleScience four years ago.

CandleScience, which sells a wide range of candle-making kits and supplies, currently occupies about 50,000 square feet of warehouse space and is subleasing the rest for the next two years. The extra space has allowed the company to completely transform the nature of its western region operations — and increase its market share, Metoyer said.

“This space makes us an industry leader in the candle-making business,” he said. “With all the products we had coming in at our old facility, we were packed in. We had made-up rows of picking isles everywhere, and product stacked on top of product just to try to operate.

“(Now), we are very self-sustainable out here. We have rows for everything, everyone can pick, and we have been able to hire a few more people.”

CandleScience has grown its headcount from six employees four years ago into a staff of 26 today, Metoyer said. The growth curve provides advancement opportunities for existing and new employees, he added.

“The more floor workers we have, the more team leads and supervisors we will need for employees that are seeking internal growth within the company,” Metoyer said. “Those jobs get created.”

Finding a new facility better-suited to meet customer demand had been on CandleScience’s radar for many years, Metoyer added. Garrett Shutt, senior associate with the industrial team at the Reno office of CBRE, assisted CandleScience in lease negotiations at The Park at McCarran. Eric Bennett, executive vice president of the Reno industrial team at CBRE, represented landlord Dermody Properties/Locus Development Group.

“Ideally, we needed 50,000 square feet, but there was nothing available,” Metoyer said. “When this opportunity presented itself, we knew we would never have to look for another warehouse again.”

CandleScience plans on expanding into the rest of the warehouse space once the sublease agreement expires. It also is waiting on delivery of a new forklift that can access the highest 23-foot shelving on its multiple rows of interior racking, Metoyer added.

The company doesn’t sell ready-to-light candles; rather, it sells kits that contain everything necessary to pour candles at home, as well as a range of candle-making supplies.

Bottled fragrance oils, followed by waxes and tin/glass containers for holding candle waxes are CandleScience’s biggest selling products. The company offers more than 180 fragrances to make scented candles and soaps ranging in size from small 1-ounce containers to beefy 25-pound jugs. It also sells a variety of bulk candle tins such as mason and jelly jars in different sizes and colors for professional candlemakers.

Soy-wax is the brand’s top seller — CandleScience receives more than 40,000 pounds of soy wax each week.

“We turn and burn that pretty quick,” Metoyer said.

The wax comes in shavings that are heated on the stovetop, in the microwave, or in a wax melter. CandleScience also sells beeswax, paraffin, and a wax that’s a coconut/soy blend, Metoyer said. The company’s complete candle-making kits, meanwhile, contain wax, fragrance, containers, lids, measuring cup, wicks, and a how-to instructional guide.

CandleScience’s largest source of revenue stems from customers who make and sell branded candles as a primary business — think of craft vendors at events such as the Genoa Candy Dance or Nugget Rib Cook Off. Its largest customer base, though, is hobbyists and people who enjoy making their own candles but do not sell them retail, Metoyer said.

About seven years ago, Metoyer added, CandleScience brought on a third-party logistics company in Reno, which sparked enough growth that it knew it needed a proper distribution warehouse on the west coast. The Reno facility does some light production and manufacturing, but most of the inbound goods consist of weekly shipments from the mother ship in North Carolina.

Candle-making kits and supplies are currently sent to Northern Nevada by truck or rail from Durham, but the added space in the Reno facility allows CandleScience to eventually bring in bulk containers directly from the ports of Oakland and Long Beach, Metoyer noted.

The two facilities basically split the country by zip code, he added.

“Right now we have a line down the middle of the country, and we will ship east to certain area codes, and Durham will ship west this way. We go east to Nebraska straight down to Texas, and they cover the rest of the country.

“If we are out of stock, they will fill it and send it this way, and if a product is out of stock there we will ship it,” he added.

CandleScience’s West Coast warehouse on Mill Street also has future plans of opening a storefront for retail customers as well, Metoyer noted. It sends small shipments via UPS and USPS, but also uses TForce Logistics, headquartered at Tahoe Reno Industrial Center, and R+L Carriers of Sparks, for larger orders.

“We pride ourselves on same-day shipping,” Metoyer said. “If you order by USPS before 3 p.m., it’s going to ship today and be at your address in one or two days. Same with UPS Ground – if it’s ordered by 4 o'clock, it shops today. We haven’t missed a same-day shipment in years.”


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