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Lawrenceburg’s Main Street was the only choice for Nancy Cunningham’s new candle and gift shop Wicks and Wonders.
“When I was a child, downtown was full,” Cunningham, who grew up in Anderson County said. “I want to bring stuff back downtown.”
Downtown, therefore, was the ideal place to open up a storefront at 127 South Main.
“There was no alternative location for me, because I think that’s where it should be,” Cunningham said of her new business.
Cunningham said she’s been dreaming of owning a candle store for more than 15 years, since she and her husband Warren Cunningham observed local candle makers while on a mini-vacation.
But Lawrenceburg already had a candle store, Lawrenceburg Candle Co., and there was no need to have two candle shops, Cunningham said.
Then the opportunity came to buy the candle business portion of Lawrenceburg Candle Co., and Cunningham found herself moving into a new shop on Main Street in late September, the weekend of the Burgoo Festival.
Cunningham said she bought “everything that involved Lawrenceburg Candle Co., even the tables,” adding that Lawrenceburg Candle Co. will still operate as a gift shop in its current location off US 127.
“It [Lawrenceburg Candle Co.] being an established business helps me a little bit,” Cunningham said. “The way its [candles] are made is still the same, still hand poured, still top-quality product.”
Before opening Wicks and Wonders, Cunningham said she knew absolutely nothing about making candles.
The former Anderson News typesetter has worn many hats over the years, working as an office worker at Reliance Electric and as a case manager at Franklin County Comp Care, even going back to school as a non-traditional student for her “greatest accomplishment” — a social work degree in 2007.
“It’s something entirely different than I’ve ever done in my life,” Cunningham said of candle making. “To me, the smell can be therapeutic.”
Good thing the smell of candles doesn’t trigger Cunningham’s allergies.
“I have extreme allergies and perfumes really bother me,” Cunningham said. “But candles don’t, thank goodness. It would be a world of hurt.”
Dena Sutherland, owner of Lawrenceburg Candle Co., helped out in teaching Cunningham how to make candles, Cunningham said, giving Nancy and Warren Cunningham a two-day tutorial on the process.
“Like my husband said, it’s not rocket science,” Cunningham said, “There’s more steps in it than an average person imagines.”
A Wicks and Wonders candle requires nine different ingredients, Cunningham said, and is still the same type of candle that was made at Lawrenceburg Candle Co.
Cunningham said she’s thinking about bringing back some scents that Lawrenceburg Candle Co. used to produce such as vanilla.
Her favorite scents are “spice-smelling” candles that remind her of baking spices, and also her mother Corene Nutgrass Burgin.
“My mom was a great cook,” Cunningham said.
Lawrenceburg specialty Modjeskas, marshmallow-centered caramels made by Lawrenceburg candy company Bauer’s Candy, is one scent Cunningham would love to capture in a candle.
“It’s the most heavenly, when you walk through that front door [of Bauer’s Candy], it’s the most heavenly scent there is,” Cunningham said, adding modjeskas are probably her favorite candy. “It’s addictive.”
For now, Cunningham said, Wicks and Wonders will sell more traditional scents, as well as seasonal candles like Christmas Eve and Christmas Past in time for the holiday season.
The bulk of her business plan, Cunningham said, involves selling candles wholesale to out-of-county and out-of-state vendors in Internet sales.
But her shop will also sell products from Lawrenceburg-based artists and vendors; Cunningham said she hopes to add more Lawrenceburg vendors in the coming months.
“I just want to give back to Lawrenceburg,” she said. “It’s been good to Warren and I and our children over the years.”
Wicks and Wonders
Location: 127 South Main Street in Lawrenceburg
Hours: Tuesday through Friday: 10:30 a.m. to 6 p.m.
Saturday: 10:30 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Closed Sunday and Monday
Starting Nov. 12 through Dec. 24, Wicks and Wonders will be open Monday from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.