Entrepreneurs Meghann and Jason Buehner have a burning desire to support Southern Illinois and they found a way to melt that passion with an entrepreneurial business.
Their venture, 618 Candle Co., came out of Jason’s suggestion that they develop their own local business. He was working to highlight other area businesses through his own company, The Printing Plant in Carbondale, and thought a unique way to showcase some of the iconic places in the region was through the development of Southern Illinois-themed candles.
Meghann, a candle lover whose first role in the business was to help her husband with the initial candle making 2 ½ years ago, has taken over the business.
“I went and started helping him and thought, wow, I really, really enjoy this,” she recalled. This was just placed in my lap and I really enjoy the process – the creative end of it, the blending, creating the scents and coming up with the names. It has become this kind of unexpected passion.
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“618 Candle is a way for us to say, ‘Hey, you can get a high-quality product that not only smells good but also can highlight some of the places around here that we love.’ It is sort of a way to remind people to think local,” she said.
The company produces a variety of wax melts, also called tarts. Some are scents inspired by Southern Illinois locations, others are an attempt to convey something about the region. Bald Knob Bakery, Best Seat in the Dawg Pound, Johnston City Pumpkin Crunch, Giant City Peach Cobbler and Murphysboro Peppermint are among the more than 70 scents the company has created, many of which are available at 18 retail locations throughout the region as well as craft fairs and online.
She explained some of the scents and names. “We’re not necessarily trying to capture the scent of Metropolis, for example, but rather come up with a fun name for a scent that brings attention to the community,” she said.
Beuhner said she is shocked by the reaction the company has received in its brief history.
“I just blows my mind to see the excitement from people and the interest from our wholesale customers,” she said.
That interest comes not just from Southern Illinois, but also from outside of the region. She said she gets orders from the southern states and Chicago.
She added that she is excited about expanding her line to include more scents and more products in the coming months, with plans to add wick candles. One thing that will continue, however, is the emphasis on the Southern Illinois region.
“I enjoy making them, but the part I love best is when people come into the store or to our booth at a craft fair and they see the names of the scents and they start reminiscing about the places that inspired them. People will tell me how they used to go to Fred’s Dance Barn or they lived in Metropolis or something. It sparks these stories and that’s been a big blessing,” she said.
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