The Central West End storefront that was home to Bissinger’s first retail shop for more than 80 years continues to sell premium, hand-made products. But for the last year, those items have been made of wax, not chocolate.
Candle Fusion (742 McPherson Avenue, 314-250-2272)
opened one year ago on McPherson just east of Euclid. The studio celebrates the art of candle-making, allowing customers to create their own distinctive scents, with more than 100 options for blending, as well as seasonal scents. You can also purchase products the owners have designed and blended.
The married couple that owns the shop, Deanna McClintock Lester and Keith Lester, were ready to make a change in careers. With Keith’s background in sales, manufacturing and business operations and Deanna’s background in marketing, special events and hospitality, they wanted to combine their skills and work together.
“We hope that our guests experience an amazing adventure of creativity and make joyful memories at our studio,” Deanna says. “Our mission is to provide an exceptional experience, premium products and memorable joy.”
Owners Deanna McClintock Lester and Keith Lester
Candle-making is a process: It takes about 30 minutes to choose and mix your fragrances and another few hours for the candle to set. The Lesters chose the location in the Central West End so that guests can shop, eat and explore the neighborhood while they wait for their candle (or come back another day, if they'd prefer).
The first step for customers is to smell the candles from the vast “candle library” along the wall and write down favorite scents. Next choose a candle jar, home fragrance product or body product to customize. After that, take a seat at the bar, and the staff will assist you in blending your oils to make your custom product.
Candles are also available to purchase in the studio or online. Prices range from $18 to $35 for custom candles, or $16 for 8 oz pre-made, single-scented candles right off the shelf.
Natural, clean-burning and soy-based, the shop's candles feature cotton paper wicks that burn for up to 60 hours and pure fragrance oils. Guest can choose to create their own candle or customize other products such as spa salts, wax tarts, room and body sprays.
It's not just for creative gift givers; Candle Fusion also hosts corporate groups and parties. A private room is available for groups up to 25; you should call for reservations if you're bringing five or more people.
The studio is open Tuesday through Thursday, 11 am to 7 pm, and Friday and Saturday, 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. It's closed on Sunday and Monday.