Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

Candle company glowing

It started in her kitchen, has outgrown her home and its current building is bursting at the seams

  • Print
Bruce Reynoldson and Sheila Sorochan at the Soy Harvest factory.  Sorochan founded the candle making company in the basement of her Charleswood home in 2005.

EMILY CUMMING / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS Enlarge Image

Bruce Reynoldson and Sheila Sorochan at the Soy Harvest factory. Sorochan founded the candle making company in the basement of her Charleswood home in 2005. Photo Store

A candle-making operation that got its start in the kitchen of a Charleswood home is now supplying soy candles to more than 300 stores across the country and looking to move into a bigger factory in 2015.

Sheila Sorochan and her partner, Bruce Reynoldson, say the tiny business she launched nine years ago -- Soy Harvest Candles -- not only outgrew her home, it's now outgrowing the 2,500-square-foot building it's been operating out of for the last 2 1/2 years.

So now they're planning another move, this time into what they hope will be an 8,000- to 10,000-square-foot factory somewhere in the city. They haven't found the right property yet, but Reynoldson said they hope to make the move sometime in 2015.

"We are just growing so rapidly," he explained in an interview as he and Sorochan prepared to host an open-house event for about 140 retail representatives at the Fort Garry Hotel.

"We can't make them fast enough. It's crazy. We used to (hand-) pour about 1,500 candles every 90 days about two years ago. Today, we do about 6,000 pieces per week."

But to meet their current demand for product, Reynoldson said they'd have to boost production to about 25,000 items per week.

'We can't make them fast enough. It's Crazy.'

"So it's critical that we expand to a bigger facility."

He said to boost production to that level, they also would have to more than double the size of their workforce to 25 to 30 people from the current 11, which includes the two of them and nine contract employees.

Sorochan noted the company not only makes its own line of soy-based candles, it also manufactures private-label soy candles for about 500 retail outlets in Canada and the United States.

"That (making private-label candles) is a big, big business for us," Reynoldson added.

Most of Soy Harvest's customers are independent gift shops, spas and specialty retailers. But Reynoldson said he's in talks with a number of national retail chains -- he wouldn't say which ones -- which are also interested in carrying its products.

"I think we're on the cusp of (taking the business) to that next level," he said.

Shelmerdine Winnipeg Garden Centre is one of about 80 stores in Manitoba that carry Soy Harvest's candles. Company president Nicole Bent said Shelmerdine has carried about 20 different brands of candles over the years, including some celebrity-endorsed products.

"But we haven't seen any successes like we've seen with Soy Harvest. Our sales just continue to grow. They have become our staple brand of candles."

Asked why she thinks the candles are so popular with Shelmerdine customers, Bent said they're an all-natural, environmentally friendly product, the quality is consistent, they come in a variety of pleasing fragrances, and they're Manitoba-made.

"Winnipeggers are becoming very supportive of locally made goods," she added.

So much so, that Shelmerdine has set aside an area in its boutique that's devoted exclusively to Manitoba-made products -- everything from Soy Harvest candles to handmade slippers.

Sorochan said she launched the business in 2005 with the help of her now-deceased father, George. He was a manufacturer's agent with a lot of retail connections and found her two or three retail customers that first year.

But Sorochan had another full-time job she wasn't prepared to give up, so her venture grew pretty slowly until Reynoldson came on board about three years ago as a partner and full-time sales and marketing manager.

"That changed everything," Sorochan said.

Although she continues to work full time for another company -- she wouldn't say which one -- Sorochan realizes that at some point she might have to quit that job and devote more time and energy to managing Soy Harvest Candles.

"If I didn't work for such a good company, it already would have happened. But the company I work for has been amazingly good to me."

 

murray.mcneill@freepress.mb.ca

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition April 19, 2014 B6

Fact Check

Fact Check

Have you found an error, or know of something we’ve missed in one of our stories?
Please use the form below and let us know.

* Required
  • Please post the headline of the story or the title of the video with the error.

  • Please post exactly what was wrong with the story.

  • Please indicate your source for the correct information.

  • Yes

    No

  • This will only be used to contact you if we have a question about your submission, it will not be used to identify you or be published.

  • Cancel

Having problems with the form?

Contact Us Directly
  • Print

You can comment on most stories on winnipegfreepress.com. You can also agree or disagree with other comments. All you need to do is be a Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscriber to join the conversation and give your feedback.

You can comment on most stories on winnipegfreepress.com. You can also agree or disagree with other comments. All you need to do is be a Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscriber to join the conversation and give your feedback.

Have Your Say

New to commenting? Check out our Frequently Asked Questions.

Have Your Say

Comments are open to Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscribers only. why?

Have Your Say

Comments are open to Winnipeg Free Press Subscribers only. why?

The Winnipeg Free Press does not necessarily endorse any of the views posted. By submitting your comment, you agree to our Terms and Conditions. These terms were revised effective April 16, 2010.

letters

Make text: Larger | Smaller

LATEST VIDEO

Key of Bart - Evil Las Vegas

View more like this

Photo Store Gallery

  • PHIL.HOSSACK@FREEPRESS.MB.CA 090728 / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS White Pelicans belly up to the sushi bar Tuesday afternoon at Lockport. One of North America's largest birds is a common sight along the Red RIver and on Lake Winnipeg. Here the fight each other for fish near the base of Red RIver's control structure, giving human fisher's downstream a run for their money.
  • JOE.BRYKSA@FREEPRESS.MB.CA Local-(  Standup photo)-    A butterfly looks for nector on a lily Tuesday afternoon in Wolseley-JOE BRYKSA/WINNIPEG FREE PRESS- June 22, 2010

View More Gallery Photos

Poll

Should panhandling at intersections be banned?

View Results

View Related Story

Ads by Google