Yellowhammer Candle Co., a family-owned business in Northport, announced Wednesday it will be opening a brand new retail store near the intersection of Lurleen Wallace Boulevard and McFarland Boulevard.

Yellowhammer is owned and operated by Kyle and Amber Dunkling, a husband and wife duo who said the store specializes in small-batch, hand-poured soy candles. They also feature homemade laundry detergents, body butter and much more. Each candle is fitted with either a cotton or wooden wick and comes in a jar or wooden container.

They said the idea for the business came to them while watching television in summer 2019. They were intrigued by a store in Indiana that allows customers to make their own candles.

"There's nothing around here like that. We were avid candle buyers anyway," Kyle said. "We just started fooling around with it as a hobby."

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The couple didn't have a name or even a business mindset. They started making their own candles for fun in their garage until Kyle had the idea to sell them. They launched a website for their products about six months later, and saw rapid growth. Their workshop soon outgrew the garage, dthen the kitchen and later the dining room.

It wasn't until they partnered with Northport Elementary for a fundraiser and students sold $27,000 worth of candles that they realized they needed to drastically increase their workspace.

"That prompted us to move out of our home to find a new one. That's our biggest order to date," Kyle said. "There was no way we could make that at home. That is 1,500 candles at once."

They now operate in a self-described warehouse space in downtown Northport behind the Kentuck Art Center.

Yellowhammer Candles can be found for sale in Huntsville, Centreville and even across the state line in Tennessee. But they primarily serve the areas of Northport, Bessemer, Birmingham and Tuscaloosa. Their current business model isn't quite what they set out to do, Amber said.

"It's been expanding rapidly," Amber said. "There's a demand with our customers. They'd like a place to smell the candles before they buy them, and retail is the next step to grow our business."

The new store can be found later this summer in the shopping center at 2801 Lurleen B Wallace Boulevard in Northport. The Dunklings said they intend to demonstrate the candle-making process to customers in the store to set themselves apart.

"We want to personalize this experience with the customer," Kyle said. "Some items are poured to order, and we want to give people the option to bring in their own bowls to put the wax in if they want."

Amber echoed those sentiments and said every step in their process is personal and hands-on.

"There are no machines in our shop. Everything except melter is handmade. That's our touch for the customer, and we love interacting with them," Amber said. "At our core, we want to stay small enough to stay approachable. Our community helped us through a particularly rough year in 2020, and we want to give back to them and show them we appreciate them."

Amber said they will still sell online and at their wholesale locations. This storefront is a nice expansion, but Yellowhammer, in their eyes, is still a hobby. They expect the store to have a soft opening in mid-August.

The hours will vary week to week, as both Kyle and Amber still work full-time jobs. The best way to check if the store is open is to check first on social media.

The couple hopes one day for Yellowhammer Candle Co. to include a candle bar, where customers can come and pour their own candles. Kyle envisioned this as a fun afternoon activity, or a great opportunity to host workshops and birthday parties.

"We're nervous for sure, but the thing is - nobody ever had a successful business that they weren't nervous about," Kyle said. "You'd lose that drive to make it successful. That shows we're putting in the work and connecting with customers, that we're doing our job right."

 

On top of their new brick-and-mortar location, those interested can find Yellowhammer Candle Co. either on Facebook or at yellowhammercandle.com.

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