Our Shop in the Woods
So, what is the big attraction with the Candle Shop? Anyone who has stepped through our door knows that our “We Smell Fabulous” billboards tell the truth. We believe that burning candles needs to be a multi-sensory experience – the smell of the unique scent, the beauty of the design and tinting, the glow of the flame, and the ever so quiet sound of the candle burning.
When you walk into the Candle Shop, you are immediately surrounded by over 2,000 unique and individually designed candles, part of more than the 20,000 in stock! Most importantly, all our candles are carefully and lovingly made on the premises – by hand – by our skilled staff of artisans and craftspeople. Inspired by the beauty of the Bruce Peninsula, we believe that our product is a superior candle.
Owner Leslea Smith stresses that the ambiance of the Candle Shop is meant to inspire and intrigue our clients. With seven intertwined showrooms, exploring the maze of unique decors of each room provides for a fun and interesting experience. “When our customers light their candles perhaps many months later – at Christmas, on a special birthday, or when cocooning in a winter storm – we want them to both enjoy the candle and remember the sensory experience of shopping for it. We are successful if the candle brings up warm memories, both in burning it and in remembering us.”
The Beauty and Quality of our Hand-Made Candles
In a world of mass production, Chief Candle Maker and Owner Leslea Smith insists on continuing the tradition of hand crafting candles. “Our staff takes pride in pouring, dipping, and painting each and every candle. This means that each candle is a one-of-a-kind design.” Leslea suggests it is easy to compare our candles with a machined one, “simply notice the difference in weight – ours is heavier. Pure wax burns better and longer than “air” candles, so it is easy to deduce which candle is better value”
History of Bruce Candles – The Candle Shop
In 1966, Bud Albro, one of the free spirits from California, fell in love with Miller Lake. He became good friends with the Corbetta’s who owned the campground – Summer House Park. Bud decided to stay and work in the campground for the summers. As a young person growing up in California Bud loved to dabble with crafts, especially candles. Buddy loved people and they seemed to enjoy his wit and kind heart. He made friends with everyone. He decided to try and sell his candles in the tiny store at the park. His dream became a reality and the Candle Shop was established.
Leslea Smith heard about the shop and was hired as the first official employee in 1968. She recalls, “It was crazy”, Bud, myself, a vat of melting wax, and customers all crammed into the tiny shop. Soon it was obvious the shop was just too small and a new work shop was needed, this was built in 1971. The Candle Shop now had two display rooms and a detached workshop. The workshop had a buzzer that would sound if a customer came into the display area. Out the front door of the work shop we would run and into the back door of the display area to greet the customer.
Soon after the building additions, there was another addition – Leslea became pregnant. Bud didn’t like her running back and forth so they joined the building together. This was a happy start to two stories – Leslea’s baby Shannon, who is now a second generation candle maker – and a maze of showrooms that greet the public when they visit The Candle Shop. In 1994 a new work shop was built for the growing demand of our candles. We are very proud of the shop which reflects how one man’s dream became a tourist destination and a thriving business concern.
In 1998 a great loss happened with the passing of Bud. Bud’s life friend and business partner, Curt retired from Summer House Park. While grieving the loss of their friend, Leslea and Curt vowed to continue the heritage of the shop. Everyday they would hang out the open sign and light the “Buddy” memorial candle on the front counter. This was our small tribute to our great friend, entrepreneur, artist and free spirit whose legacy lives on at The Candle Shop.
In 2005 tragedy struck again for The Candle Shop; Curt passed away. Curt handed The Candle Shop to long-time employee Leslea to continue its success. The same ritual is performed every morning when the shop is opened; the sign goes out and the candles are lit in memory of two great friends. The legacy is carried on with the same love and commitment as it began with in 1966.