Finding your Scents of the Season

Photo by Katie Sikora

“We’re in the smell good business,” says Mike Felhofer, wearing a blue Door County Candle Company apron in his spacious Carlsville shop – Candleworks. The walls feature shelves lined with candle jars of varying sizes representing the colors of the rainbow, the scents of fruits, spices, flowers, and ambiences – Macintosh Apple, Cinnamon, Lavender, and Door County Christmas, just to name a few. All the candles are created in house at the back of the store where customers can watch the two-day candle-making process take place.

Felhofer, a Door County native, was inspired to start a candle-making company after visiting a Massachusetts candle shop. “This place was a big attraction in New England and I thought these are the same kind of people that visit Door County.”

He returned to Door County and “used a red pot,” he explains, “something I used to make mac and cheese and ramen noodles in college, and I started melting wax.”

Through a process of trial and error, “I figured out how to make a good candle,” Felhofer smiles, “and sold my first candle in 1994.”

But how does one choose a scent?

Writer Sally Slattery partakes in her first candle-dipping experience.

“It’s a little overwhelming,” laughs Felhofer, “that’s why we have organized it in different categories for a manageable, enjoyable process of finding what you want.”

The four categories – “Fruity & Refreshing,” “Fresh & Clean,” “Cozy & Comforting,” and “Naturally Alluring” – allow customers a broad, yet less daunting variety of scents to choose from.

“There are a lot of different ways to go. ‘Cozy & Comforting’ are really popular in the fall,” says Felhofer. “There you have your Spicy Orange, Spicy Cranberry, Pumpkin Pie, and Hearth & Home scents.”

For those who wish to create their own colorful candle, the shop has its own “Dipping Station,” offering six colors of wax for customers to dip with a white candlestick, mixing and laying colors for a one-of-a-kind souvenir.

“It’s the most fun you’ll have for $2.50 in Door County,” smiles Felhofer, who adds that many families make a stop at Candleworks a Door County tradition. “They’ll plan their colors the whole ride up.”

Candleworks, open daily, is located at 5789 Highway 42 in the heart of Carlsville. For more information call 920.746.2125.