CRYSTAL TOWNSHIP — It was a dislike for commuting that prompted Pamela Greenhoe to open her unique gift shop, Candle Cottage, in Crystal.
Located at 203 S. Main St., the shop offers a host of interesting items, including a complete line of candles handmade by Greenhoe herself.
The shop will soon celebrate its fifth year in business at the same location. Since opening, Greenhoe has seen a fairly steady increase in business as word of her distinctive gifts spread by advertising and word of mouth.
The change from her former position as a human services representative for a Grand Rapids-based company to a self-employed shop owner has been a good one, according to Greenhoe.
“I lived and worked in Grand Rapids until I met my husband, Jim,” she said. “He grew up in this area, so we moved here to the old family homestead.”
The daily drive back and forth from Grand Rapids wasn’t for Greenhoe, though, and she decided to try her hand at a home-based business, making candles.
“I built a website and started selling them online,” she said. “I built a kitchen downstairs and an office upstairs. I’d go to craft shows and that sort of thing.”
Greenhoe was pleasantly surprised when her business took off more quickly than expected. It soon became apparent that she would be able to better serve her customers, especially those living nearby, by opening a brick and mortar store.
“I decided I was ready to take the next step and started looking for a location,” Greenhoe said. “I found a residence right across the street from the Post Office. I bought it and renovated it with a builder who worked with me.”
In short order, the Candle Cottage was up and running. Greenhoe quickly began adding to the store’s inventory and expanding on her line of candles. Made from soybean wax, which Greenhoe says burns cleaner and produces superior scent, the candles have the added benefit of creating fewer carcinogens while burning.
“Soybean was is more natural,” Greenhoe said. “They burn cooler and longer. Also, they support American farmers and they’re water-soluble, which makes for easier clean-up if they should happen to spill.”
Recently, Greenhoe added wooden wicked candles to her line. These, she says, produce a nice ambience by burning, and sounding, like a crackling fireplace.
Greenhoe, who also served on the Crystal Township Downtown Development Authority, believes there is plenty of business in town — particularly during the summer months — to support other, similar businesses.
“There are a lot of people with cottages on the lake and they’re always looking for something to do,” Greenhoe said. “Sadly, we’ve had some businesses close. We had a very nice coffee shop that close that people really liked.”
Greenhoe also regrets the loss of The Cove, a downtown restaurant on Crystal Lake that burned down in November 2006 and was never replaced.
“It was a great restaurant,” Greenhoe said. “There’s definitely room for more business here. It’s definitely seasonal, but we’ve been trying to bring people in with our Winterfest. I would love to see someone pick up a property and open a shop here. Crystal has a lot to offer.”
The Candle Cottage is open from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday and 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Friday and Saturday.
For more information, visit americanheritagesoy.com.