RIDGWAY – Ridgway is buzzing about Jon Kornbluh, who has moved his well-known candle factory, Bluecorn Naturals, from its longtime home in Rico to Ridgway.
Since April 1, Bluecorn Naturals’ new factory home and retail shop has been up and running at its new Ridgway location at 104 Campbell Lane, and it’s chockfull of everything from organic bodyproducts including a new line of soap and beeswax lotion bars, aromatherapy candles, soy candles, and yes, lots and lots of beeswax candles.
Both personally and business-wise, Kornbluh said, it was time to move from Rico.
“On a personal level, we had been in Rico for 15 years and needed a little more action,” Kornbluh said in an interview last week. “We had essentially lived a pedestrian lifestyle in Rico, which is a feat in itself. But with the kids growing up, we were looking at spending a lot of time in the car with sports and stuff. We really loved Rico, but the move was about ease.”
Kornbluh, his wife and their two sons made the move close to a year ago, but until the factory was officially moved in April, Kornbluh was commuting between Ridgway and Rico for work.
Since April 1, Kornbluh has operated his candlemaking operation in Ridgway – in a larger space in the midst of a thriving business thoroughfare.
“We needed more space, and there weren’t the right buildings available in Rico,” he said. “Give or take, our factory here is twice the size and it is organized so much better. It’s kind of the way the production scene should be. And we gained three months of kinder weather by moving here. The transition was smooth and production was up and running within less than a week, with the retail store up and running, too.”
Another reason for the move, Kornbluh said, was to facilitate transitioning to becoming more of a wholesaler, not just an Internet retailer.
Kornbluh said the operation in Ridgway will remain largely focused on the beeswax candles that have been Bluecorn Naturals’ mainstay since its inception in the early 90s. Beeswax, he explained, makes for a nontoxic, “super-long” burning candle fuel that isn’t harmful like traditional candles that are made from paraffin.
“Paraffin is a petroleum product that has almost the identical emissions as diesel fuel,” Kornbluh said. “If and when we scent our candles, we do so with pure essential oils and no chemical fragrances, which can be as or more harmful than the paraffin itself.”
Besides being natural and chemical free, he said beeswax candles often cost more than traditional candles but they burn much longer.
“When you do the math on beeswax candles, they cost more but when you see how much longer they burn, they can be quite comparable in price,” he said, adding that there is an alive quality to burning beeswax. “Beeswax feels very much alive, it is a hard thing to quantify. When burned beeswax emits high volumes of negative ions, which cleans the air and improves one’s mood. Like all things from bees, the wax is really quite magical.”
Bluecorn Naturals also has a line of candles made of soy wax, which he described as a nice, clean-burning candle wax ideal for container candles.
Bluecorn Naturals is also growing its body care product line, including the Beeswax Lotion Bar featuring organic shea and cocoa butter, avocado and apricot oil, beeswax, and vitamin E. The bar is in solid form, but application to warm hands triggers its emollients.
“It’s great for cracked heels, hands and any part of the body needing deep penetrating moisture,” he said. “It has been a huge hit.” The new line of organic bar soap is also popular.
“As we move forward, we are going to continue to focus on our body care line,” said Kornbluh.
The retail store will also carry feature the work of local artisans, including Julie Peterson’s Singing Springs Botanicals and Scott and Jill Rikkers’s Coal Creek Studios.
To celebrate a smooth transition to its location in Ridgway, Kornbluh will hold a grand opening party on Tuesday, June 16 from 5-8 p.m., featuring Colorado Boy brews and food and sale items.
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