A burning desire to succeed
Post Independent Intern
GLENWOOD SPRINGS – After five years in downtown Carbondale, both on his own and working with Sumjee Sherpa McGavock, Dennis Collins was finally forced to close shop in May. But two months later, he’s back in business in downtown Glenwood Springs.
Moonbeams Candle Co. and Stuff, is one of several businesses located in the building adjoining Sacred Grounds coffeeshop on Grand Avenue. That proximity to the coffeeshop is what first led Collins, its owner, to the location. “When I had coffee, I’d always come look at this space,” he says. “I’d always liked it.”
Incense, soap, and candles do not necessarily make a business unique, especially in downtown Glenwood Springs. But when you look at where and how these things are made, Collins’ shop starts to stand out.
Collins makes all the stores candles, a skill that has surprising origins. “My sister made me a bet that I couldn’t make a candle like her favorite,” says Collins. But after a year of experimenting in his basement, Collins was making candles-and he won the bet.
Collins’ candles are made with soybean oil, which he says burns longer and more cleanly than paraffin, a petroleum-based oil. “The reason I work with soy is that it’s all natural and helps support U.S. farmers.” Collins believes that he is the only maker of soy candles in the valley.
Though not made by Collins, the soaps, lotions, and other personal care products sold in the store are still locally created. “I want to start doing all local stuff,” says Collins. The store also features Collins’ original artwork and photographs, both on the walls and on cards that are available for people to buy.
“It’s an eclectic little shop,” admits Collins, “but I want to keep it small.” Ultimately, his policy is to use both good sense and good scents to make his shop and inviting and successful place.
When he’s not working at the shop, Collins will be waiting tables at Ella, a restaurant in Carbondale. He worked there during his two shopless months after the closure of Sherpa Moonbeam, the store he shared with McGavock.
“It’s like gambling, especially with retail,” says Collins of the risks involved in opening a business in an economy like today’s. But within a few hours of the store’s opening on July 1, it had already sold six candles. “I just need it to take off, and then I can be here more often.”
“I’m looking forward to meeting new people and seeing old people,” says Collins. He hopes that some of his old customers will make the trip downvalley to visit his store. “I had really good, loyal customers; I was really lucky.”
Moonbeams Candle Co. and Stuff is located in the shopping area next to Sacred Grounds. It can be reached at 945-9479.
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