5B&Co. Candlemakers is locally owned, operated and loved by the one and only Lori Woods. For 15 years Lori has been hand-pouring specialty candles in the Brookside neighborhood she calls home.
"My neighbors shop here. They're my customers. I live and shop here in Brookside," said Lori, who hand-pours her specialty soy-wax candles right here in Brookside.
"It's important to have local mom-and-pop shops," said Lori. "Because that's what gives our neighborhood individuality and uniqueness. And we're the only the 5B & Co Candlemakers."
Love at First Scent
In the beginning, Lori just made votive candles. “That's it, a living off of votive candles and accessories. Now, 5B makes votives, tea lights, melter cubes, pillars, tins, jars, car fresheners, room spray, diffusers, and we sell our oils in small quantities. Over 14 years of candle making, we have increased the number of fragrances we offer to just over 175 scents.”
In November of 2002, Lori Woods visited the original 5b & Co location in Weston during a weekend getaway. She instantly fell in love with the atmosphere. “The charm of the mom and pop shop, the aroma, the fact that candles were being hand poured in the back of the shop, the cat that ran underfoot, I loved the scents and the quirky names. Marsha had personality. I liked that.”
“I still remember some of the candles that made it into my first dozen candles--clean undies, flower shop, spiced wassail, red currant,” Lori remembers. “I took them home and absolutely loved them. I was not even an avid candle burner before then--everything was so fake and artificial—but I was hooked!”
Lori finally struck up the nerve to call Marsha in January to ask Marsha if she would consider a franchise agreement.
“We met within the week at the Weston cafe and pretty much sealed the deal over a slice of pie,” Lori said. “C'est la vie.”
Lori has continued to hand-pour soy wax candles in her Brookside shop, making new scents and welcoming customers to sniff out their favorites.
An Entrepreneur at Heart
“I’ve always been an entrepreneur at heart,” Lori said. “When I was five- or six-years-old I was selling Kool-Aide in the driveway. At seven I was having garage sales selling anything I could sneak out of the house. At eight I was selling my friend’s dad’s vegetables out of a wagon and selling pot holders that I made on a loom to the farmers who lived behind me. As I turned nine and 10, I graduated to leaf-raking, car-washing, and baking for my neighbors. My best friend and I had a cookie-baking business that we delivered on our bikes. But that only lasted for two days. I went to school for everything but business and this is where life took me.”
Creating Her Own Scents
“I love to have my hands in creating scents that can only be found at 5b & Co.” Lori said of owning her own business. “I love going to market to buy accessories and decor for the store, and seeing the trends and putting my own spin on what is current.”
The Neighborhood Candle Shop
5b&Co. has called Brookside home for over 14 years. “Brookside is a charming, eclectic neighborhood that we love being a part of,” Lori said. “People are kind and there is a feeling of unity among neighbors, shoppers and business owners. We all live and work here we love to be and it feels great to preserve the shopping center as to the use that it was intended for.”
“I feel like I am providing a unique service to my neighborhood by handcrafting candles on a daily basis,” Lori said. “I have a small retail space so it is easier to stay focused on the candles.”
After 15 years, Lori said she knows what works: Provide a friendly, welcoming store environment with a genuinely unique product and amazing customer service and the customers will return.