July 25, 2016

Mostly cloudy

Capturing the scents of the season

Editor’s note: Rub-a-dub-dub, three stories in a tub … er newspaper. This week, we’re taking liberty with an old English nursery rhyme. We asked a local butcher, baker and candlestick-maker how they prepare for the holiday season. Root Candles is featured today. The Country Baker in Medina Township was featured Tuesday and butcher Tom Keller was in Monday’s Gazette.

MEDINA — Certain fragrances have long been associated with Christmas: pine needles, fresh snow, cinnamon and holly berry.

At Root Candles, those scents are bottled into sophisticated, decorative candles that can lend a holiday ambiance to customers’ homes.

Every Christmas, at the Root Candles’ retail store on West Liberty Street, interior designers transform rooms into lavish Christmas displays. Everything from floating candles to the traditional tabletop candlesticks flicker throughout, representing many holiday motifs.

a1mg_clr4colroot1kb-copyThe staff at Root Candles decorates the interior of the store on West Liberty Street in Medina with lavish displays, including floating candles and cranberries. (Kaitlin Bushinski / Gazette)

In the months before Christmas, traditionally the strongest retail period for the company, scents of berries and spices waft inside and out of the store.

But within Root’s sprawling factory, located behind the storefront, the art of candle-making also is on display.

Root Candles was founded by A.I. Root in 1869. As the company celebrates its 140th year, President Brad Root represents the fifth generation of leadership in his family’s business.

“Quality is what we strive for, in appearance and burn,” Root said. “We’re a full-service candle provider.”

The factory makes nearly every element of its candles. Employees create and test candle colors from raw dyes, and even the wicks are threaded in-house.

“We’re the only (candle-maker) I know of that actually makes our own wicks,” Root said.

Within the factory’s burn room, workers pull candles off the line to test batches for burn quality and safety. Candles of every color and scent waft throughout the room, and row after row of devotional candles flickering in colorful glass lend the room a religious aura.

Since 1929, Root also has provided a vital service to churches across the country by producing beeswax paschal candles.

They are commonly used on Roman Catholic church altars during holiday ceremonies.

After collaborating with a designer, Root employees hand decorate the large candle with colorful religious symbols, making each one a unique work of art.

It takes about an hour to finish each paschal candle.

In the weeks before Christmas, Root said the company’s biggest challenge was simply keeping retailers stocked with candles.

“Retailers waited until the last minute to see if Christmas was really coming,” said Root, “and it is.”

Contact Kaitlin Bushinski at (330) 721-4050 or kbushinski@ohio.net.