In Search of the Perfect Candle

In this part of the country we have a plethora of options when it comes to purchasing candles, but I’ve found a few makers I really like for some specific and unique reasons.

Candles are always something we love to have in the house. They can create an atmosphere of their own, from soothing and inviting to meditative and inspiring. Never really satisfied with the big, jarred candles from well-known international companies, I started picking up locally made candles out of curiosity and to learn what else might be out there. I also realized that purchasing a candle was a simple way to support small business – either the shop owners and workers selling the candles or the local candlemakers themselves. 

Wick Bar & Co. 

“Stay home and enjoy the little things”

Tracy Miller started Wick Bar & Co. as a place where people could gather and enjoy each other’s company while creating a candle souvenir of their experience. The idea was amazing and unique to Lancaster, which welcomed the open nature of the environment where people were just free to be themselves – and make a candle. 

Wick Bar & Co. photo

As businesses were pandemic-mandated to close shortly after Miller opened her brick-and-mortar location in downtown Lancaster, she decided to refocus the Wick Bar & Co. experience on DIY candle-making kits. She also introduced the Wandering Wick Bar, which makes appearances at gatherings or events like bridal and baby showers, birthdays, social affairs and even small corporate team-building sessions. For a set price, the Wandering Wick Bar brings all the equipment for guests to hand-pour 10 oz. candles using scents of their own choosing. 

Wick Bar also offers a “Recycle. Refill. Reuse.” service for people wanting to reuse their favorite candle containers. 

Fontana Candle Company

“The clean candle difference”

When I mentioned to folks I was writing about local candlemakers, the name Fontana kept coming up as a recommendation. While searching for an alternative to standard candles, the folks at Fontana – the husband-and-wife team of Katie and Eric Roering – wrote off the use of paraffin and soy and turned their attention to beeswax. The problem was with the scent – beeswax was not able to hold the scent they wished to impart. After 150 attempts, Fontana found the right combination of beeswax and coconut oil for its line of natural, clean-burning candles scented with 100% essential oils. Another element that makes Fontana stand out is that its wicks are made of wood. 

Fontana Candle Company photo

Fontana candles, which are categorized by light, moderate and strong scents, are non-toxic and are the first candle to be certified as such through MADE SAFE®. The candles were named Best New Natural Living Product in 2020 by the Natural Products Expo. While Fontana has developed a national following, their products can still be found locally at such locations as Knock Knock Boutique in Elizabethtown, Little Timber House in Lititz, Ville & Rue in Lancaster and Salon Art-Tiff in Ephrata, among others.

A Sampling of Seasonal Scents 

  • • Allspice Ginger & Vanilla 
  • • Citrus Peel & Pine 
  • • Peppermint Twist 
  • • Fraser Fir 
  • • Wintergreen 


Life Moments Candle Co.

“We make a life by what we give”

Life Moments Candle Co. photo

As a veteran myself, supporting veteran-owned businesses is always a goal and when I read about the opening of a veteran-owned candle shop in Brickerville, I knew I had to check it out. That was back in 2016 and now Life Moments Candle Co. is moving to Womelsdorf, Berks County. A longer drive won’t affect members of the popular Life Moments’ Candle Club though. Fans sign up for a membership that includes a standard size candle of choice at almost half price for either local pickup or delivery once a month, as well as exclusive offers and discounts. Military members and first responders receive a 20% discount on purchases. 

Life Moments candles are hand-poured soy wax and one of the most appealing characteristics of the company’s products are the seasonal offerings and fun names such as Horse & Buggy (which actually smells like a warm caramel apple), Cartoons & Cereal and Sweater Weather.

A Sampling of Seasonal Scents 

  • • Pumpkin Pickin’
  • • Campfire Stories 
  • • Cheers to the New Year 
  • • Classic Cinnamon Stick 


Harvest Moon Candle Company 

“By the light of the moon”

Photo by Michael Upton

Harvest Moon Candle Company is set up in the perfect location to catch tourist traffic on the oft-traveled Old Philadelphia Pike, where the storefront for the local candlemaker offers a selection of Americana and country-folk décor … and candles! All the combination soy-and-paraffin candles are made in a nearby workshop and are as popular with wholesale clients as they are with tourists and locals. When I stopped in, a couple from New Jersey was buying hundreds, seriously hundreds, of candles to take back to the Garden State. Beyond creatively named scents like Back Porch, Farmhouse Mornin’ and Hillbilly Homebrew, Harvest Moon candles appeal to customers looking to add a certain style to their home – most candle jars are decorated with a hard, textured layer of coffee grinds, making them a truly unique sight.

A Sampling of Seasonal Scents 

  • • Apples & Cinnamon 
  • • Blueberry Pumpkin 
  • • Creamy Eggnog 
  • • Frosted Pine 
  • • Pumpkin Crumb Cake 


Hamilton Wax Co.

“By any other name would smell as sweet”

Brittney Hippensteel creates hand-poured, richly scented, soy-wax candles in small batches under the name Hamilton Wax Co. What drew me to this company was the name and the homage it pays to what was a once-burgeoning business – Hamilton Watch Company – in Lancaster City. The name actually was inspired by Hamilton Park – where the candles are made – a neighborhood whose homes were built in the 1930s to house the watch company’s employees before the maker of fine timepieces moved to Switzerland. 

Hamilton Wax Co. photo

Hamilton Wax looks to carry on that tradition with vegan and phthalate-free candles made with 100% American-grown soy, fragrance oils and eco-friendly, lead-free cotton wicks. The leader of her one-woman show, Brittney serves as product specialist, package designer, candle pourer, customer service rep and shipping department head at Hamilton Wax Co.

A Sampling of Seasonal Scents 

  • • Cashmere + Pumpkin 
  • • Amber Fireside 
  • • Warm Spruce 
  • • Pomegranate + Peppercorn
  • • Mistletoe 


Welsh Mountain Candle Co. 

“Passionate about waxes”

Welsh Mountain Candle Co. photo

In my neck of the woods – eastern Lancaster County – there’s a working Amish farm at the foot of the Welsh Mountains where a brother-and-sister team (and their spouses) is creating small-batch, hand-poured candles with a focus on environmental friendliness. Welsh Mountain Candle Co. creates candles with two styles of wax. The palm-wax candles, with scents like Autumn Harvest, Mulled Cider and Forest Fern, are made from cold-pressed, food-grade palm wax; the wax is extracted from the fruit of the palm tree, making it a self-sustaining, renewable resource. The latest candle style added to the Welsh Mountain line uses an all-natural coconut wax. Welsh Mountain candles can be found locally at Prussian Street Arcade in Manheim and Artisan Mill Co. in Lititz, as well as online.

A Sampling of Seasonal Scents 

  • • Apple + Cinnamon 
  • • Balsam + Evergreen 
  • • Cedar + Nutmeg 
  • • Fire & Ice 
  • • Holiday Cranberry 
  • • Pumpkin + Spice 


Christina Maser & Kevin Lehman at Festoon

“Candles that speak to the spirit of creativity”

Festoon photo


This downtown shop carries a candle that is not only created by artists but the container can be upcycled once the candle is finished. Pottery and glass artist Kevin Lehman creates the handblown glass tumblers that hold Christina Maser’s scented (essential oils) soy-wax candles that feature cotton/paper-cored wicks. When the candle is gone, the tumbler can be used as a beverage glass. Festoon also carries Maser’s other lines of soy-wax candles that are available in a wide variety of scents.   

Lehman/Maser Scents (at Festoon)

  • • Fusion
  • • Revive 




Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


  1. Do you offer classes to make your own candles? If so how much and what days are and times are you open? also, can kids 13 years make them? Thank you.