Batavia resident Annie Scholl and husband Andy Kenney are shining a light on good books with their literary-themed candles.
The couple has grown their candle enterprise with a strong online presence, frequent appearances at craft fairs and a thriving wholesale business that puts their products in book and gift shops across the country.
Now the married pair is bringing it all together with a brick-and-mortar general store in Batavia.
Hearth & Hammer General will feature not only the artisan candles but a variety of unique goods, gifts and consumable products.
“We’re going to be your modern neighborhood general store,” Scholl said.
Located at 319 Main St., the store will offer specialty greeting cards, stationery, notebooks, tea, coffee, soaps, jewelry and home décor items.
“It’s all about quality and craftsmanship,” Scholl said.
A selection of classic candies will take visitors back to the old-fashioned five-and-dime general merchandise stores.
“Everything we purchase is from a small maker,” Scholl said. “We go to craft fairs and meet people like us to form these connections.”
With the couple’s connections in the Batavia Artisan Collective, that means showcasing merchandise from Batavia artists, including jewelry from the Natalie Clare Collection and wood home décor items from Suzy Ray’s Real Happy Space.
Merchandise also includes an eclectic selection of fiction and poetry books.
Yet the natural soy wax, hand-poured candles remain at the heart of the Batavia couple’s business.
With literary names such as “Scarlet Letter,” “The Raven,” and “Burning Books,” the candles feature natural fragrances. The soy wax burns cleaner than paraffin, Scholl said.
Kenney creates the hand-drawn designs for the literary labels on all of the candle varieties, including the letter-pressed dust covers pierced by the wicks.
“It’s been a fun way to get a more tactile experience in design,” Kenney said.
Kenney’s passion for Batavia is evident in his “Batavia-Made” line of merchandise, featuring hats, pins, pennants, mugs, towels, key fobs and other items celebrating the Windmill City.
“This gives people an option to have Batavia-themed goods that are not necessarily associated with the high school,” Kenney said.
With virtually everything in the store perfect for gift-giving, Hearth & Hammer will offer shipping services ranging from sending packages to posting greeting cards.
“You can write a card and we’ll mail it for you,” Scholl said.
With a large open floor plan, Hearth & Hammer’s new space will give Scholl and Kenney plenty of room to design and produce their candles and welcome visitors for candle-making workshops.
To make the candles, Scholl melts natural Midwestern-sourced soy wax flakes in a specially made stainless steel vessel with temperature controls.
The wicks are natural, too, made from braided cotton and paper.
The Batavia High School graduates started their business at home in 2014.
“The goal now is to grow the general store,” Scholl said.
The store’s Main Street location is not visible from the street, but is tucked behind the building, where there is a large parking area providing easy access for shoppers.
Regular hours for the store will be from noon to 6 p.m. on Fridays, 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Saturdays and Sundays, and from noon to 5 p.m. on Mondays.