The Daily Item, Sunbury, PA

Business

July 7, 2014

Candlecrafter to hang up her wicks

— LEWISBURG — It’s been a heck of a ride, but after 32 years, Pat Hess is ready to call it quits.

“It wasn’t an easy decision,” said Hess, who together with her husband, Greg, has owned and operated Colonial Candlecrafters since 1982. “This has been my life since I was 14 years old.”

Except for one day that she tried her hand waitressing at Bechtel’s Restaurant (actually, she recalled, it was more like three hours), making candles is all Hess has ever known. She grew up helping her parents, Howard and Beverly Bird, in the store during their tenure of ownership from 1972-82.

“By the age of 14 I was doing the ordering — my mom would give me a budget and I would take care of it,” said Hess.

And she loved it. So when the opportunity to buy out her parents came along in 1982, she and Greg didn’t hesitate before deciding to take on the challenge of becoming small-business owners themselves.

It took a while to get things moving, and the years weren’t always kind financially, but it’s an experience Hess said she wouldn’t trade for anything.

“It was tough at times, but after a while, things really got rolling,” she explained.

Attacking the future

At first it was all about figuring out how to be business owners. But soon, Hess said, they realized if they were going to make it, they would have to do more.

It was in the early 1990s, she said, when the couple sat down and decided they needed to “attack” the future head on. They began brainstorming.

“We started looking more toward the future and working on ways to build up the business,” she said. “In 1992, we introduced jar candles in 12 different fragrances and that’s when I think we found a really good niche.”

It was around the same time that she was approached about working with a local school interested in selling those jar candles as a fundraiser.

“Fundraisers have been really popular,” she said. “We’ve had a lot of success with those. We once had such a big order we had to rent a truck just to transport all of the candles to a place above Williamsport.”

Soon, they were so busy they found themselves needing more space. In 1995, they built the extension building that sits on the north side of the two-story brick original building, and moved all the manufacturing work there. Prior to that she had poured candles in the basement of the shop.

“That’s when things really exploded,” she said.

Text Only
Business
  • Balancing Act: How much is your time worth? Consider outsourcing some tasks

    Todd Paton has a booming business getting customers noticed on the Web. One tool he uses is generating online press releases to build brand awareness and create links that will send traffic to a customer’s website. But Paton, owner of Paton Internet Marketing, acknowledges that writing the releases is not his strong suit. Rather than spend his time doing it, he hires out the task.

    July 23, 2014

  • The Color of Money: No easy way to get out of debt

    Many people who are deeply in debt are desperate for a quick fix. They ask the question: What can I do to get out of debt?

    July 21, 2014

  • Watercooler: When to speak up if you see problems down the line

    Q: Our organization has hired a new director. I am one of a number of division heads; above us, there's the associate director, and above him is the director. The associate director is feared and disliked for his duplicity and dictatorial nature, though few have come forward because of his vindictiveness.

    July 18, 2014

  • Career Coach: Bringing a purpose-driven spirit to work

    Increasingly, religious beliefs and practices of employees are becoming more evident in the workplace. Religious diversity and concepts of spirituality are more prevalent in organizational settings.

    July 18, 2014

  • Ask the Mompreneur: It’s best to farm out your payroll

    When my husband and I hired our first employee at our Web development company, we had it easy when it came to doing payroll.

    July 17, 2014

  • Protecting against unnecessary losses

    QUESTION: I run a small bar and grill which is open 7 days a week and have to rely on others for some of the shifts. How can I ensure employees have not become my partners?

    July 17, 2014

  • A checklist for keeping you focused at work

    A quick check of Facebook and next thing you know, a half-hour’s passed. Start chatting with a co-worker and suddenly 20 minutes is gone and the report you were supposed to finish by lunch is late.
    Workplace distractions are everywhere, especially in an age of social media and open-plan offices. In the face of so much temptation, accomplishing what you’re paid to do can be tough.

    July 16, 2014

  • It could be time for a career coach

    Need a little help figuring out your next career move?
    If you’re putting in the hours and still not seeing the rewards, feeling undervalued or simply striving to be more successful, it may be time to hire a career coach.

    July 16, 2014

  • Your Office Coach: Turn to boss for help with disgruntled underling

    QUESTION: When I joined this company a few weeks ago, I discovered that the person who previously held my position is now working for me. “Sarah” obviously resents my presence and frequently says I don’t have the authority to manage her, even though I clearly do. Her negativity has made my job much more difficult.

    July 15, 2014

  • You are not trusted

    If it seems like employers don’t trust employees - well, they don’t.

    July 15, 2014

Business Video
Stocks