Valley Candles, tucked in a small, sweet-swelling shop in a residential neighborhood in Spokane Valley, is planning a special open house this weekend to showcase new candle scents.
Business owner Heather Stokke said she rotates several seasonal scents in and out of her collection depending on the time of year in addition to the dozen or so mainstay scents that she sells. Just in time for her open house, she has three entirely new scents to showcase. Sweet Nectar is a mix of sea salt and orchid while Fruit Cocktail is a blend of strawberry, peaches and champagne. The third scent, Flower Shop, contains raspberry and honeysuckle.
Stokke said she’s also brought back a scent called Citrus Mint Mojito.
“It’s a huge fan favorite,” she said.
Stokke, a former competitive gymnast, taught gymnastics for 22 years and also owned a flower shop for six years in Western Washington. When she and her husband moved to Spokane Valley eight years ago, “I was ready to completely change,” she said.
Instead of looking for a job, she turned to one of her hobbies, candle making.
She had bought a candle-making kit about 18 years ago to keep her occupied on rainy afternoons and was soon making them for her friends and family. When she had extras, she’d sell them at the booth her flower shop had at local farmers markets. They always sold well, Stokke said.
Stokke has allergies and asthma, so she was interested in making candles that wouldn’t bother her. She began researching how to make a better candle and put that knowledge to use when she opened Valley Candles eight years ago.
“We use 100 percent soy,” she said. “We use what’s called ‘clean’ fragrances with no chemicals.”
She started out doing wholesale orders and traveling to various craft shows. “I would travel to Boise, to Portland, to Seattle,” she said.
Then COVID hit, shutting down the craft shows. Stokke turned a 100-year-old shed in her backyard into a store.
“This was just a shell,” she said. “We had to put in new windows, new doors, the floor.”
Stokke said she loves walking out her back door to go to work instead of hauling heavy candles from city to city. “This gives me a way to really connect personally with people,” she said. “I miss the excitement of the events. I don’t miss the aching of my body.”
Some of the candles Stokke sells are as large as 5 pounds, which she considers statement pieces. “I’m a sucker for a big candle,” she said.
Making candles is a mix of chemistry and art, Stokke said. Measurements must be exact, and everything must be carefully timed. “If not, you don’t have a good burn, a good scent throw.”
Her store includes more than just candles. She also sells boxes of wax melts for candle melts, bath bombs, goat milk soap, small batch preserves, scarves, purses, tea towels, throws, pillows and decorative chickens. She also owns Northwest Man Products, which has a line of beard oil, body wash, hand scrub, hand balm and beard wash.
The décor items Stokke offers in her shop is constantly changing. “I just like it to be new all the time,” she said.
Valley Candles is typically open from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. every Friday and Saturday at 4918 N. Evergreen Road. During this weekend’s open house, it will be open from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Friday, Saturday and Sunday and all merchandise will be 20% off.
Stokke said she’s also open by appointment and people can contact her via Facebook, Instagram or call (509) 201-7667 to make arrangements. Her candles and bath products can also be purchased online at www.valleycandlesllc.com.
“We ship all over the United States,” she said.
She’s glad her unexpected career is candle making, Stokke said. “It’s fun,” she said. “I love it. This is just what I was meant to do. This is a passion of mine.”
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