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New Beaver Dam candle shop has creative flair
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New Beaver Dam candle shop has creative flair

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Building gets back to business after 25 years

KELLY SIMON

ksimon@wiscnews.com

A dark empty building in Beaver Dam is glowing again after being transformed by a local couple into the new location of Earthshine Candle Factory Store.

Bill and Carolyn Heimerl began looking for a different place to house Earthshine after Jonas and Julie Zahn of Northwoods Casket Company expressed interest in purchasing the candle company’s premises on Green Valley Road.

Carolyn said they wanted to expand their retail offerings, but when her husband found the old two-story brick structure at 1401 N. Center St. she was reluctant at first.

“I was like, oh no way, this is going to be a big project,” she said. “We’ve done rehabs and houses but this place was really terrible — there were no lights or electricity, no plumbing — everything had been ripped out.”

But Bill’s expertise in the construction industry, combined with Carolyn’s desire for a store with true character, gave them the confidence to sign on the dotted line.

The building was first constructed as a creamery in the 1940s and operated as Quality Guernsey Dairy. Then from 1952-1988, it was home to Hoefs Printing & Office Supply.

The granddaughter of Bill and Borgie Hoefs, Kari Dinegan, recalls her grandpa turned the back part of the building into an apartment when they retired and leased out the front. The second level was also rented as an apartment. Other businesses that occupied the space for a short time included Northside Bait & Beverage and Embassy Electronic Service.

It had been roughly 25 years since a sale has been rung up in the place. That all changed a couple weeks ago when Earthshine opened its doors June 22.

“It took us a bit longer to open because our work was only beginning when the coronavirus hit,” said Carolyn. “I’m really excited about this place and what we now all have to present to our customers.”

Wall displays throughout the store are filled with high quality scented candles at wholesale prices. Jar candles of varying sizes, votives and wax melts in an abundance of scents are available. Earthshine’s signature candles are layered in three colors, with fragrance mixed into each layer to provide a consistent aroma.

A new organic garden collection is also on store shelves. Heimerl said those candles come in recyclable packaging and feature sustainably sourced soy waxes, beautiful dried herbs and botanicals.

Earthshine was started in 1998 as a wholesale business by Heimerl and her friend Mary Beth Ehlenfeldt after the pair experimented with different waxes and scents on Heimerl’s new stovetop. The business took off quickly and built on its success. Home décor and a small retail store was added when the building on Green Valley Road was purchased for the operation.

The brand new location provides much more space for retail merchandise. Although Ehlenfeldt retired in 2012. Heimerl said she returned to help set up displays with her longtime friend.

Earthshine has a reputation for selling high quality seasonal decorations. Heimerl said she is now mixing in antique and vintage finds for customers that are looking for one-of-a-kind items, along with some merchandise for the outdoors.

“We want people to be checking back in with us because inventory will keep changing,” she said.

About 10 people are currently employed at the new shop. Hand-pouring of candles is done in the back part of the building, and an addition was built to provide space for a shipping department. The addition is sided in barn boards to blend with the building.

Work is still being completed upstairs, which houses the offices of Heimerl Corporation (roofing, gutters and construction) and Bright Ideas LLC (wholesale gifts and décor).

“We have a lot going on, I can say that I have literally worked every day since March 18. We’re ready for people to see what we have here,” she said.

One couple that stopped in Thursday to get a glimpse of the new space shared an interesting fact while visiting with sales associate Stephanie Addison, telling her their last visit to the store was in 1970.

“We bought our wedding invitations here when it was Hoefs Printing,” said Russ Schrab. “And we’ll be married 50 years next month.”

His wife Cindy enjoyed reminiscing and said, “This place has been closed for so long it’s great to see it being used again for something so nice. It’d be wonderful if more places in town would follow.”

Follow Kelly Simon on Twitter @KSchmidSimon or contact her at 920-356-6757.

Follow Kelly Simon on Twitter @KSchmidSimon or contact her at 920-356-6757.

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