Meet Lynda Vanderstelt, the candle maker.
As soon as you walk through the door of Serenity Country Candles located in Brantford’s Holmedale core, your spirits are lifted as you feel your body slowly become at ease. Each different scent in the air moves through you like a breeze. The shortbread cookie and maple butter take you to a friendly baker’s place, or maybe your grandmother’s house. The Muskoka boathouse guides you on a canoe flowing over a peaceful lake, and the lavender and lilac bring you outdoors to a cozy garden.
Owner Lynda Vanderstelt has about 40 different scents weaving through Serenity Country Candles, yet the smell of the place is not at all overwhelming. Peaceful music features birds chirping, water running, and gentle instruments to take your mind away, free to wander through each and every scent as your walk through the many unique rooms.
“It’s more than a store, I don’t know how to describe it, but it’s more,” Vanderstelt explains. Each scented candle lining the shelving throughout the store is hand poured on location, and has its customers coming back for more.
Vanderstelt found her love in candle making about ten years ago. She was working a full-time job with five children at home, and she wanted to find something she could do to spend more time with her family.
Vanderstelt also found herself not fully satisfied with the candles she was buying elsewhere. “You go out, you buy a candle and it would smell great, and then you light it and then it was good for five minutes, and then nothing. And I kept finding that, so I thought ‘gosh, maybe I could make my own.’”
Which lead Vanderstelt to opening her own ten by ten booth at the Brantford Farmer’s Market in 2005. Within months that grew to a stall and a half, and finally reached two and a half stalls before she packed up and ventured to her own little spot on Holme Street over a year later.
“I just loved candles. I loved burning candles, I was a candle freak,” Vanderstelt admits. “There’s nothing better for me at the end of the day than coming in, making tea, and lighting my candles. Just very serene, and the peacefulness, and I wanted to bring that into a retail environment.”
These candles do more than just light and scent a room for Vanderstelt’s customers; the store has become a go-to place to relax and get away. In March of 2014 Vanderstelt introduced the last piece of her dream: a restaurant. Before Vanderstelt was even allowed seating in her store, customers would just take a seat on the floor and chat away because they enjoyed the atmosphere that much. “I wanted to create a place where people got away from that hustle and bustle of mainstream and I wanted like a more relaxed atmosphere,” Vanderstelt explains.
Just like it were her home Vanderstelt offers every new customer a complimentary coffee as a welcome. “Our motto is we want you to feel better when you leave than you did when you came in,” says Vanderstelt.