Do you know about WoodWick candles? The name says it all—instead of a cotton wick they have a wooden one, and it makes a soothing crackling sound as it burns, almost like you’re sitting in front of a fireplace: a perfect substitute if you’re an apartment dweller!
I bought my first WoodWick candle at a Cracker Barrel in the Appalachian part of Virginia, and at the time I had no idea I was buying so close to WoodWick’s origin. WoodWick candles are a product of Virginia Gift Brands, a subsidy of Smith Mountain Industries. As the name suggests, these candles are exclusively made in Virginia, mostly at a factory near Lynchburg, VA.
Virginia Candle Brands was started in 1997 out of a Lynchburg, VA garage—making it 20 years old! The mom and pop shop’s WoodWick candles became instantly popular. Now, WoodWick candles are no longer manufactured in a garage, but in a Lynchburg, VA factory that takes up 300,000 square feet and employs 180+ people. WoodWick candles are sold all over the world, most recently expanding to Korea and Japan.
It’s not even the wooden wick that John Fontana, chief executive officer of Smith Mountain Industries, says makes WoodWick so popular, but the candles’ scent. I have three WoodWick candles right now—the smokey, spicy Fireside; the rich, heady Cinnamon Chai; and the salty and citrus Ocean Escape Trilogy—and I can vouch for their ability to fill a room.
“We’re really a fragrance business,” Fontana told Lynchburg’s local paper. “The candle is just a way to get the fragrance into the atmosphere.”
WoodWick is really the story of a tiny little candle brand gone global. Throughout massive growth and dozens of powerful, soy blend scents, they’ve kept two things consistent: their eponymous wooden candle wicks, and their home base at the foot of the Blue Ridge Mountains.