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Minnesota business buys Ardore Candles

By Staff | Nov 1, 2008

Seven years ago, Mark and Heather Howell of Estherville started Ardore Candles, a company that grew to enjoy a nationwide following with major markets such as New York, Los Angeles and Seattle.

The Howells sold the business to Acadian Candle Co. of Minneapolis, Minn., Sept. 11 and are staying on – Mark as sales manager and both Mark and Heather as new product development consultants.

It was health problems that Mark experienced in January that led to the decision to sell the company. By selling to Acadian, they’ll be able to add another four candle lines. “It just was kind of a good fit,” Heather said.

Ardore (Italian for passion) began using soy oil in their candle manufacture from the beginning. “It was really new when we started,” Heather remarked.

The company had humble beginnings, starting in Heather’s kitchen, then expanded three times. “It just kind of grew from there,” said Heather. With 100 sales representatives throughout the U.S., Ardore even has an Australian distributor.

At one point the Howells had two shifts with a total of 12 employees working. And, while production is moving to Minneapolis, the Howells will remain quite involved with Acadian.

Acadian is keeping the Ardore name and recipe. “Everything’s staying the same,” said Heather.

“We really appreciate the local support that we’ve had in developing our product and buying our product,” Heather said.

The Howells are selling out at a large discount their remaining inventory at their manufacturing site two miles east of Estherville on Highway 9.

Mark said Scott Evenson, Acadian president, wanted them to remain on staff. One of the new products the Howells will be breaking out in January will be a Timber Wick product which will preview at the Atlanta trade show Jan. 5. “It will allow us to branch out a little bit,” Mark said.

Through its affiliation with Acadian, Ardore will expand its line to add votives, tea lights and melters.

The Howells will probably locate a wholesale outlet at their current location and possibly add more items from the Acadian line later.

“It’s going to allow us to focus more of our attention on what we enjoy,” Mark said.