SHOP: Hometown Candle Co – Arlington, WA
When our first magazine was published two years ago, it included an article on a little vintage & gift shop in Downtown Arlington that went by the name of Reclaimed heart. If you were to walk down Olympic Avenue today, however, you wouldn’t find it there. Now, I know what you’re thinking, local businesses come and go all the time. That’s not what happened here though. Nope, I’m happy to say that Tina, the owner behind Reclaimed Heart, has moved up and on to better things when it comes to her small business story.
Thinking back on that first article (I actually grabbed my copy of it and read it again), so much has changed in such a short period of time. Not just the location and the product focus, but with Tina as well. All three have undergone change and growth in amazing ways, ones that she should be more than proud of. I know I am, especially since I can say I knew here back when.
I think the best way to describe the change and growth for all three is, somewhat coincidentally, coming home. More specifically, finding it. What do I mean by that? Hang in there with me and you’ll see soon enough.
Like myself, and many others, Tina has had a hard road to get to where she is today. She has struggled with mental illness, faced down addiction, and overcome the loss of loved ones. Through it all, she continued moving forward, growing as an individual , and pursuing her dreams. Two years ago, those dreams led her to Downtown Arlington. The city not only became the new home for her family, but the home of her very first storefront.
In the time since, she has embraced and became a part of the community of businesses and folks around her, making connections and new friends, myself included, as well as dabbling in roles with the Downtown Arlington Business Association and Arlington Farmers Market. She even stepped into her late mother’s shoes, becoming the city’s Mrs. Claus for their Christmas parade and events.
As someone who has shared a lot of the same struggles and social anxiety that Tina has, I’ve kept an eye on her. I was more than a bit curious to see how she would handle the challenges that came her way when she put herself out there by opening her own shop, and handle them she did. She handled customers like a pro, building relationships left and right, and made amazing choices when it came to the size of her shop and what she chose to focus on.
Reclaimed Heart’s first location (pictured above) was just a tiny little thing when it opened in the Fall of 2017, packed full of vintage goodness, fun home decor and gifts, and locally made products. More importantly, it featured a new venture for her, the PNW Candle Line (pictured below), which matched scents with local cities. The opening was covered by not only us, but fellow local bog Eat Stay Love SnoCo.
In the Spring of 2018, she was already moving on up, relocating to a much bigger shop just two doors down. It was from there that things really began to take off for Tina. Her candle line was expanding to include more cities and placement in shops beyond her own. Then, just a year after opening the original shop, everything suddenly began to change, most definitely for the better.
At the close of 2018, Arlington received a Top Ten spot in Deluxe’s Small Business Revolution – Main Street program and documentary series. With that honor came national features of local businesses and all kinds of learning and growth opportunities for them. Breaking out of her shell and taking advantage of both the publicity and opportunities was the best decision Tina could have made.
Within a month, Tina was not only filming a business feature for the contest, but completely re branding her candle line and shop as well. It all happened so fast, even I didn’t know what was going on … and I know everything that is going on. Seemingly overnight, Reclaimed Heart and the PNW Candle Line became Hometown Candle Company & Gifts, with a snazzy new logo and everything.
Publicity from the feature, along with the brand change and of course the hard work and dedication of Tina, opened the door to more than I think she even anticipated. Her candles not only began to be featured in additional shops, but were being custom ordered by businesses who wanted a candle with their name on it, in the PNW and beyond. They were also included in swag bags for the 2019 Grammy Awards and 2019 MTV Movie Awards. How cool is that, seriously!
It wasn’t long before even the local media was taking notice, with Evening Magazine stopping by the shop to film a feature in February. I think the only people as excited about it as Tina and her family were me and the Kid. As someone who has dedicated themselves to promoting and supporting the small businesses of Snohomish County since 2013 (wow, has it really been six years). There is nothing I love more than seeing them get the attention they deserve, especially when it come to those who make their own products.
If you are one, then you know how hard it is to not only build a brand, but to get the exposure you need to make it a success. A HUGE part of that is getting social, whether it is on Facebook and Instagram or getting featured by local an national media. Embracing this is one of the things I’m most proud of Tina for since I know, from my own experiences, how hard it is to be in the spotlight when its not really your thing. She has been doing awesome and I can’t wait to see how she continues to grow moving forward.
She’s already taking steps in the direction as we speak, moving her shop on up once again … or more precisely, moving on down, the street. This time around she downsized a bit, not because she was struggling, but because her candle line has been doing so well it has now gone from a secondary feature in her shop to the primary one. So, gone are the vintage furniture and pieces Tina got her start with, and in their place are even more candles and gifts for you and your home. Don’t worry, there are still a lot of locally made products featured as well.
So, now that you know about all the changes and growth that Tina and her shop have gone through over the last two years … what’s the deal with the candles? Well, I’ll tell you.
You can customize your own candle online or right in the shop, picking from a selection of scents, or to stop by and pick up one of Tina’s own creations. I still don’t know how she picks which scent goes with which city for the candles available in her shop, but I will find out. Just call me the Barbara Walters of Snohomish County. In the meantime, I’ll settle for taking them to the cities they are named after to capture some awesome photos.
What are my favorites? That’s a hard choice to make, I do love smelling candles after all. I literally will smell every scent a local candle maker has, even if I’ve done it before. Don’t believe me, just as Tina or Paula of Vivid Experience Candles in Marysville. If I absolutely had to narrow it down though, I would go with Arlington (Lime, Basil, Mandarin) and Darrington (Banana Nut Bread). I don’t know how she did it, but Darrington and bananas are two of my favorite things, they absolutely belong together!
My choices aside, I truly hope you make some of your own. Tina is an amazing person to get to know, and not only are the candles a good reason to visit her shop, but so are the gifts and local products she sells. We have a blast each time we are there and always find something to take home.
You can find out more about Hometown Candle Co. by following them on social media (Facebook), checking out their website www.hometowncandleco.com, or stopping by the shop at 119 N Olympic Ave in Downtown Arlington (former, and now shared, home of Save the Day Floral).