It's bit like going to a bar.

But instead of imbibing alcohol, these patrons take in scents.

A West Akron couple has followed their dream and opened the Candle Studio  in the trendy new lifestyle center Pinecrest, off Interstate 271 in Orange Village, where guests can create their own personal candles.

And these candles can get very personal.

With some 87 different fragrances, there's certainly a lot of choice. They range from the somewhat ordinary like summer lawn to the extraordinary like cannabis, and every scent in between including bacon and old books.

You can simply stroll in and purchase a candle off the shelf for $17. But as co-owner Nick Duve said, what's the fun in that?

Instead they encourage patrons to grab a card, head over to the fragrance wall and sniff away.

Nick said customers can write down their favorites — up to 15 — and then go to the pour bar. Like a bartender, a worker will chat about the choices and offer friendly suggestions about what might mix well together.

Once a customer has picked out his or her three favorites, the worker then gets out a jigger — like those used to mix alcoholic drinks in a real bar — and begins to mix the three scents. By adding a bit more of this and that, Nick said, they come up with the perfect custom scent for the customer's liking.

Nick's drink, er candle mix, of choice right now is a combination of first snow, pine needles and Christmas ale.

He said it is best to limit the scents to just three.

"It's like if you mix too many colors — you end up with black," he said.

Once the scents are mixed together for about 30 seconds, the 170-degree soy-based wax is added along with a cotton wick.

It takes about 90 minutes for the wax to fully cool and set up. In the meantime, Nick said, customers are free to walk around the shops at Pinecrest, get a bite to eat or watch a film at the nearby Silverspot theater.

Some choose to wait in the store where they can purchase a glass of wine, a can of craft beer or a bottle of Norka soda — a nod to the couple's Akron roots — to pass the time.

 

Help from 'The Wall'

Although LeBron James has yet to step foot in the store since it opened in late October, the couple say the Akron-born NBA superstar certainly had an assist in helping their dream come to fruition.

They captured the nation's attention earlier this year when they were contestants in late January on the NBC game show "The Wall," produced by James' SpringHill Entertainment.

The first openly gay couple to appear on the show had just adopted a 3-month-old son, Anderson, when the show was originally taped for later broadcast.

They could have walked away with close to $1 million, but instead won $89,891. Steve accepted the guaranteed check without knowing Nick had amassed a jackpot of $899,882.

They can laugh about it all now.

"We are just so grateful we got to do the show," Nick said.

Some of the winnings helped start the candle shop, and the rest went into a nest egg for the family.

They said Anderson has just turned 1 and is walking and talking: "His favorite word is banana," Steve said.

The store's specialty is candles, but the couple soon hopes to expand into customer-created scented lotions and other products. They host parties and groups and even have special themed nights like yoga sessions and whiskey tastings.

The custom candles cost anywhere from $19 to $31 depending on the size and type of jar selected.

Nick said they hope to eventually open other Candle Studio  locations, including one in the Akron area.

"Everything is about customization in life," he said. "And that's what we are all about here."

 

Craig Webb, whose favorite candle scent is anything apple, can be reached at cwebb@thebeaconjournal.com.