Couple open candle shop

Aaron Krause • Oct 29, 2015 at 11:56 AM

Renee Barkhimer vows she will never burn a paraffin candle again.

The Milan resident said she feels paraffin candle wax makes the various candle scents assault the nostrils. Besides, she said American soybean wax is better for the environment, in that it does not produce soot.

Barkhimer and her husband, Richard, burned candles with paraffin wax until they noticed Swan Candle Creek shops out of town.

The couple liked what they saw in the store, which sells soybean wax candles, and decided to open a similar store on Milan's square. While the Barkhimers sell Swan Creek Candle products, they cannot name their store that because no more franchises are available.

The Milan store, Candles on the Square, opened Sept. 17, and a grand opening is planned for 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Oct. 27.

Renee Barkhimer, who runs the store with manager Dianne Kline, sells a variety of scents, according to the season. Now that fall is approaching, pumpkin spice, gingerbread, warm cinnamon are some of the fragrances available. Around Christmastime, the story will carry flavors such as candycane mint, hot butter rum and sparkling cranberry.

Barkhimer said the aroma is not overpowering but warm, welcoming and cozy.

As you enter Candles on the Square, a warmth soothes your body. You notice a mild, but clearly noticeable sweet scent one that doesn't assault your nostrils, but massages them.

The fragrance also tickles Barkhimer's taste buds.

She said she used to eat dinner at 7 or 8 p.m. Now, her store closes at 5 and "as soon as I get home, I've got to eat something," she said.

What does she crave? Anything sweet.

Kline said the aroma doesn't necessarily make her hungry, but she still enjoys the fragrance.

"I think it's just very welcoming and inviting," Kline said.

Candles on the Square is not just about candles. Kline brings some of the antiques she collects with her husband, Tim, to sell in the store. The couple collect everything from antique furniture to glassware.

At least one customer took notice of the antiques Thursday.

"Milan's such an antique town, it's known for that,' said Bellevue resident Rick Stegman, who operates a bed and breakfast in Bellevue. "The Swan Creek candles are great candles and I was surprised to find you have antiques as well."

Stegman's visit prompted conversation.

"Candles and antiques go together, don't they," Barkhimer asked.

"They do," said Stegman, who likes to spice up his bed and breakfast with candle scents.

Will Stegman continue to shop at Candles on the Square.

"Oh I suspect so," he said.


WHAT: Candles on the Square

WHEN: Hours are 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Saturday. A grand opening is set for Oct. 27

WHERE: 12 N. Main St., Milan (on the square)

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