CHESTER - Cathy Clovis Averill may be an accidental entrepreneur, but her candles are the result of a painstaking attention to detail.
Averill, 38, of Chester, went into business for herself only after learning that she enjoyed making candles.
"It really started out as a hobby and became an accidental business," she said.
Cathy Averill at the entrance to her new store, Kitty's Candle Co., 439 Carolina Ave., Chester. -- Stephen Huba
That business now occupies space in downtown Chester at 439 Carolina Ave., where Kitty's Candle Co. has been open since June 17.
Averill and her husband, Jeromy, recently moved back to the area after spending 10 years in Colorado Springs, Colo. The mother of two sons has roots in Hancock County going back several generations - her grandfather and father both worked for Weirton Steel, and her great-grandparents were from New Cumberland.
"I wanted to be closer to my family," she said. "I love the area - the trees, the mountains, the small towns. It's a perfect place to raise my kids."
Averill started making candles about four years ago when she realized she could experiment with endless varieties of scents and colors. She bought a 10-pound slab of wax and a couple different scents, and, within six months, she had a home business.
"People love that I can do custom colors," she said. "I've gotten a lot of compliments for my candles."
She started out selling them to friends and family, and then took the business online at: KittysCandleCompany.com.
"It took off on its own," said Averill, whose nickname as a youngster was Kitty. "I came up with what I liked, and other people liked it too."
Averill's specialty is poured candles in a variety of scents, as well as melts - small wax cubes that can be used with plug-in warmers - and what she calls "mandles."
The latter are candles with "manly" scents such as "Bacon," "Beer," "Leather Jacket," "Campfire" and "Cedar." Mandles sell for $8.99 and are among her more popular items. Averill's eight-ounce "honey pot" jars sell for $9.99; her six-ounce jars sell for $7.99.
Averill enjoys indulging her seemingly endless curiosity for finding new colors and scents, which explains scents with names such as "Dragon's Blood," "Twilight in the Woods," "Fresh Baked Bread," "Apple Pie" and "Cookies!"
"I experiment a lot," she said.
The candles burn cleanly, she said, and do not leave a residue on the sides of the jars. Candles can be easily refilled at a $1.50 discount, she said.
Averill also sells scented "Apple Pie" puppies and bears that are not candles. Store hours are 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday-Saturday.
(Huba can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org)