By Betsy Lopez
Special to The Rock River Times
A local couple is seeking community support to fight the city’s negative public image. Rockford gets a bad rap, and Candle Crest owners Judy and Dave Bieck hope a new candle that debuted Friday, Oct. 25, will help stop unfavorable publicity for the city.
Scented with a truly unique fragrance that is “fresh and uplifting,” the Rockford Candle is being produced by the Rockford-based business to sell at area retailers for $15. The pineapple, bamboo and sage-scented candle is sold in a 12-ounce jar.
Fifty percent of the net profit from each specialty Rockford Candle sold will benefit the Rock River Valley Pantry from October 2013 to January 2014. Each quarter of the year, Candle Crest will select another not-for-profit organization to be the recipient of funds aimed to boost quality of life in the region.
The Biecks have been dreaming up their own scents for their soy-based candles since before their inception in January 2009. The Rockford Candle was developed by Judy Bieck as a response to Forbes magazine positioning Rockford as No. 3 in its list of “America’s Most Miserable Cities” earlier this year. Forbes cited declines in the city’s manufacturing base, high property taxes and local unemployment in the ranking. Since the ranking was released, Judy has been building the scent and product, solidifying the local business support to mass produce the product to stock local shelves recently.
“It curled under my skin,” Judy said. “I thought to myself, ‘If I’m not part of the solution, I’m part of the problem.’ My goal is to do something 100 percent positive for the community.”
Candle Crest’s Rockford Candle is being sold at more than a dozen businesses throughout the stateline. Kim Adams-Bakke, executive director of the Rock River Valley Pantry, is enthusiastic for the partnership with Candle Crest and the possibilities it brings.
“Ninety-three cents of every dollar here at the pantry goes into program services,” she said. “We don’t have a lot of overhead, we’re helping people who are going hungry, and I think [this] is going to help us purchase some of the most urgently-needed foods here. We’re hoping local people see the benefit that the money stays here to help feed the hungry.”
The pantry serves 7,000 people per month, 40 percent of whom are children. Urgently-needed foods include canned fruits for the client food bags.
“Rockford is a great place to live,” said Rhiannon Stanuch of Bookworm Bakery. “It’s a great place to support local business and it’s a great place to do great things for your neighbor. These candles accomplish all of those goals.”
Helping Rockford grow outside the walls of negativity that continue to be built is important to Charles and Brandi Ducharme of The Olive Oil Experience in Loves Park, Ill. The Rockford Candle is the first of Candle Crest’s products to be carried at the oil and spice shop.
“It’s awesome that they’re doing this to help our community fix our bad reputation,” said Brandi. “We’d love to see it sell so we can carry it all year round.”
The Rockford Candle is now available for purchase at more than a dozen retail locations, including Culture Shock, O’Fallon’s Flowers, Rockford Art Deli, Bookworm Bakery and online at www.candlecrest.com. For a complete list, visit Candle Crest’s Facebook page and website. Candle Crest produces clean-burning soy candles with long-lasting burn times and rich fragrances. The soy candles are individually hand-poured using soy wax from U.S. soybeans. The products feature lead-free wicks and are a healthier alternative to paraffin to provide a cleaner burn for you, your family and your pets.
From the Nov. 6-12, 2013, issue