Storefront with ferns in front of the door
Penn & Beech storefront

Burning Bright – Penn & Beech Keeps Slaying

Penn & Beech Candle Co. started in 2017 in Indianapolis, in a basement on North Pennsylvania Avenue, with two sisters-in-law experimenting with pouring candles and developing custom scents. Brianna and Lacey Doles launched the small, in-home business as a side venture spread through word-of-mouth advertising.

“People would just come to the door and pick up their candles,” Brianna says. “It started as a basement operation for about a year and a half. Then we moved to an online business, and thought maybe we could open up a location close to where my husband, Seth, and I lived. That’s how the first location opened in downtown Indy.”

Brianna says the idea to move the business from the basement to a storefront happened organically, with people curious to see the candle pouring for themselves. She says they would bring friends to the basement to enjoy a glass of wine and watch the process. Seth says the founders developed the idea to move the business to an experience-based brand.

Table with candle making equipment
Penn & Beech Candle Co station

The mix-and-pour-your-own candle company allows guests to customize their unique candle scents. Customers smell over 100 scents and narrow their likes to just a few. Penn & Beech employees then assist guests in narrowing down the scents to a few that blend well together. Next, guests choose a vessel for their candle. Guests can also enjoy a glass of wine, beer, kombucha or coffee while they decide.

The namesake is a wink and a nod to where both women lived – Brianna on Pennsylvania Street in Indianapolis, and Lacey on Beech Street in Columbus, Ohio. Since their official launch of the downtown brick-and-mortar location in 2018, Brianna, Lacey and Seth have opened a Carmel location and three locations in Columbus, Ohio, with one in the works in downtown Fishers.

“When we opened the downtown location it was a huge success, but we did keep hearing from customers that they wanted a more accessible location rather than driving downtown,” Seth says. “We started on the building in 2019 and opened in 2020. Much like other businesses at the time, we had to close during the height of the pandemic.”

The couple says they fought through the shutdown like many other small businesses, and now the Carmel location is one of their busiest. It’s also by far the largest, with a private event space for hosting bridal showers, bachelorette parties, girls-night-out events and corporate functions.

The trio is currently working to round out their central Indiana locations with a new Fishers location, set to open in spring 2024 in the historic Nickel Plate District. Seth says the new space is situated inside a historic brick building.

Candlemaking table with shelves behind it
Penn & Beech candle making station

“It’s one of the buildings left after all the renovations to the Nickel Plate District in downtown Fishers,” he says. “Design-wise, it will be an elevated version of what we’re already doing in the area. Guests can still have a glass of wine or a beer while they mix their scents, choose their vessels and pour their candles.”

Seth says they plan on moving their current downtown location to the Bottleworks District during its second development phase. “Our original Mass Ave location will always be special to us, but we’ve simply outgrown the space,” Seth says. “Our new location is just across the street from our current one and will provide us the extra space to accommodate all our guests. We are thrilled to join the Bottleworks family while operating in the same community we love.”

Penn & Beech has experienced tremendous growth in their relatively short time on the scene. Seth and Brianna say they are proud of the growth and can’t wait for more expansion in the future.

“One of the things we’re most proud of is growing from a small, self-run basement business to having over 100 employees now,” Seth says. “Running a small business is tough to navigate, especially during a time of so much growth, but I think we’ve gotten a lot smarter in terms of managing it. I have to give credit to our amazing team. As long as we have our close relationships dialed in with the folks leading our stores, managing our warehouse, heading up our marketing and so on, we’re equipped to handle the growth.”

Brianna says it’s crucial to each and every team member for the guest to have a fantastic experience. She says they place high importance on each location’s look, feel and even smell. Seth says they listen to customer feedback and implement changes when necessary. They have even expanded the brand’s wholesale line to larger businesses wanting a custom candle scent to represent their brand.

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