SHELBY — Dove Candle Bar can smell like 187,000 different scent combinations at any given time.

With 105 different scents to choose from for candle mixing, owners Steve Fellows and Joe Johnson let customers mix up to three to make their own candles.

Dove Candle Bar at 45 E. Main St. in Shelby has been open since Sept. 16. Fellows said it is already getting great support from the community. 

“The comments on Facebook and the excitement that it’s bringing is really good,” he said. “To me and Joe, it’s not all about the money. It’s about what we’ve done for Shelby and giving these people something to do and watching their excitement.”

Fellows and Johnson had talked about starting a business together in 2019 before the COVID-19 pandemic began. Candle-making was a hobby for each of them and they bought the former Apex Construction office in January 2022. 

Dove Candle Bar renovated the building and repainted before its grand opening. Fellows said they want to add 10 feet onto their “party room” to accommodate larger groups. Currently, he said the party room can fit about 10 people.

The candle bar has seating close to the cash register and also has a “date night” table by the store’s entrance.

Johnson used to make his own lye soap and found he liked candle-making even more. He decided to name the business Dove Candle Bar in honor of his mother, who died of cancer seven years ago. Her favorite animal was mourning doves and Johnson said she also loved candles.

“She would probably be here as much as she could be,” he said.

Johnson said he wants to make sure Dove’s customers can be as involved as possible in making their own candle. He said other candle bars he’s visited don’t let people measure their scents or create their own labels.

At Dove Candle Bar, visitors can pick out the scents they want to mix and which type of glass container they want. Fellows or Johnson will prepare a measuring cup of wax for customers to pour into the container.

While the owners prepare other supplies, customers can design their own circular labels with markers and colored pencils.

Dove’s scent measurers have a large side and small side based on what size of candle customers make. After mixing in the wax and scent, customers adjust their wick and wait for the candle to set.

Johnson said the 100% soy wax candles are more environmentally friendly than paraffin wax and usually burn for longer. Customers can stay in the candle bar while their candles are setting or explore other Shelby businesses and come back.

Fellows said he always recommends Shelby businesses including coffee shops, The Vault Wine Bar and the Little Shops of Shelby. In turn, The Little Shops of Shelby has highlighted the candle bar on its white board sign outside.

Fellows said other downtown Shelby business owners have been supportive of him and Johnson. When a couple from Marion came to town early for dinner, he said Ivory Bean Coffee House suggested they go to the candle bar.

The process of mixing a candle takes about 15 minutes, Fellows said, but candles usually need 90 minutes to set before people can take them home. 

Dove Candle Bar also has pre-made candles for sale and makes candles to order. Both owners said they are looking forward to getting more fall and holiday scents.

Their favorite scent, and the best-selling candle, is white pumpkin amber. Fellows said they almost sold out of that candle within the business’ first two days.

The candle bar is open 4 to 8 p.m. Mondays, Tuesdays and Thursdays, and 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays. Johnson opens the business Fridays and Saturdays and Fellows is there every evening and weekend. Fellows said they might make adjustments to open hours based on what customers want.

Fellows said it’s important to him that Dove Candle Bar not only offers great candles, but also opportunities to make friends.

“Customers aren’t only coming here to make candles,” he said. “They come in here and sit down and there’s good conversation. You’re making new friends, you’re meeting a lot of people.” 

To contact the store owners, call 567-292-9412 or 567-292-9434. Dove Candle Bar is also on Facebook.

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