Candles Off Main Is Off Main

| September 2, 2009 | 0 Comments

Downtown Annapolis Shop Relocatescandlesoffmain_logo

As many have noticed, vacant windows in Annapolis are becoming all too common. While some closures can be attributed to a poor economy, bad management or skyrocketing rents; others can be attributed to growth.

Last weekend, Candles Off Main moved from their 1500 ft. store on Main Street in Annapolis to a larger facility tucked behind the Westfield Annapolis Mall.

We wanted to know what drove them out of downtown. We fully expected to hear the tales of parking woes, lack of traffic, high rents, and city hoops for jumping. We were surprised and think you will be as well. We spoke (OK, emailed) with Susan Adams, the owner of Candles Off Main.

Eye On Annapolis (EOA): You are one of our favorite stores and a hidden gem. How did it all begin and how did you get here now?

Candles Off Main (COM): We started in October of 2005 in a 200 sq ft space on Cornhill street tucked behind (then) Riordan’s & Griffin’s.  We quickly outgrew that space after we launched our website in June of 2006.  After a cramped holiday season, we started looking for a larger space right away in January of 2007.  We found a 1,500 sq ft space we liked on Main Street and moved over in August.  Our sales increased significantly due to the greater visibility and our website continued to grow.  After 2 years of being on Main Street and 3 years online, again, we outgrew our space.

EOA: What was the deciding factor in moving to the mall area? Cost? Traffic? City support or lack? Growth of business?

COM: It’s hard to find large spaces downtown, and since more than half our sales are online where our location is irrelevant, we decided to move out of downtown since it just made more sense financially.  We moved to a 3,000 sq ft space just ¼ mile from the mall.  We now have 3 times the display space at 1/3 the cost.

EOA: As a businessperson, did you find your time in the City to be worthwhile? Did they make it easy or hard to operate? Or were they not a factor?

COM: We love being downtown.  We moved to Annapolis from New England because of the downtown area.  We could have opened a business anywhere but chose downtown since we enjoy being there so much.  We didn’t have a business that needed a home.  It was the other way around.  Downtown and the charming little space on Cornhill Street are what inspired our business.  We thought about the selection of shops downtown versus what you find in a quaint New England town and tried to select a product offering that wasn’t currently represented.  We needed a product that would fit into that small shop on Cornhill Street.  Many New England towns have candle shops so we chose candles based on that.

Perceptions of downtown are the biggest obstacle.  Parking really isn’t that bad.  There isn’t much traffic either.  The City is nice if you work with them.  There are plenty of shops for locals, they just don’t come downtown often enough to discover them.  If people find the prices downtown high, it’s because the nice shops offer quality products.  If you’re looking for bargains, go to Target or Marshalls.  If you’re looking for a unique, special gift or something special for yourself, go downtown.

EOA: Why should we shop with Candles Off Main instead of Yankee Candle or the cleaning aisle in the Giant?

Yankee only sells Yankee candles.  Illuminations only sold Illuminations candles.  We represent over 30 of the best candle makers in the US that you can’t find in most stores.  We offer an objective opinion, friendly assistance and honest information.  Since we don’t make anything that we sell, we bring in the best and we can find the right product for each person by offering selection.  We tape 10 minute shows in our shop to describe new products and offer demonstrations.  This also distinguishes us from our on-line competition.  Our video blog is www.candlesoffmaintv.blogspot.com.

Candles Off Main is now located at 2017 Renard Court. The location is right off of General’s Highway behind the storage company and just after the Annapolis Bowl. Right now, they are settling into their new bigger home so the dust is flying, but it is worth a trip the next time you are near the mall. Please support your locally owned businesses!

Candles off Main
2017 Renard Court
Annapolis, MD 21401
The myriad of ways to contact Candles Off Main
410.990.0664
On the Web
By email
Flickr Page
Video Blog
Regular Blog
Twitter
USSTREAM Channel
Facebook

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Category: NEWS

About the Author - John Frenaye

John is the publisher and editor of Eye On Annapolis. As a resident and business owner in Anne Arundel County for more than 15 years, he realized that there was something missing in terms of community news–and Eye On Annapolis was born in late spring 2009.

John’s background is in the travel industry as a business owner, industry speaker, and travel writer. In terms of blogging and social media, he cut his teeth with MSNBC.com.

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