How SCORE helped. 

Candle making is an art with roots that extend for centuries, and though we no longer need candles to illuminate our homes we continue to use them for celebrations, rituals, and traditions. Candles are now part of home décor and in increasingly hectic and high-tech lives have become ways to soothe and soften the edges of a stress-filled world. This trend has translated into big business with U.S retail sales of candle products estimated at $3.2 billion annually

SCORE clients Eric and Katie Roering received a scented candle as a Christmas gift several years ago, “We burned it, and by the end of the day, we both had headaches and didn’t feel well,” Katie recalls. This experience inspired the pair to research and experiment with clean and non-toxic alternatives to paraffin candles, and Fontana Candle Company was born. 

The Roaring’s created a candle company that produces a product that is hand-poured in small batches with a combination of Beeswax and Coconut oil. They added a distinctive natural wooden wick, “which provides ambiance and a nice crackle – it’s just something different,” Eric notes. Fontana Candle Company is now poised to create the most non-toxic candle possible.  They will be reformulating all of their scents with 100% natural essential oils and chemical-free plant oils beginning in 2020. 

About thirteen months ago, Eric and Katie reached out to SCORE Lancaster-Lebanon for the guidance of a mentor.

“There were several times that we were unsure of what the next strategic move should be for the company. We had several different options of things we could do, or we should do, but we weren’t sure of the logical steps that we should take to grow the business. We decided it would be good to talk to someone who’s been where we want to be and who has done it before. So, we believed a mentor would be a good place to start.”

  - Eric and Katie Roering, founders of Fontana Candle Company

From the start SCORE mentor, Jeff Eberts recognized that Katie and Eric are talented and experienced entrepreneurs. As their relationship evolved he came to have a clear picture of the mission and vision for the company.

“Jeff has been fantastic in helping us to see the business from an outside set of eyes; a different perspective. He helped us realize that we are not a candle company, but we are in the business of education. Without having the consumer educated on why our non-toxic candles are different than the millions of other candles available in the marketplace, we do not have a viable business. He has also been key in helping us portray this differentiator through the rebranding of our labels with Fig Industries. This rebrand has been instrumental in making our candles a high-end national product instead of a local handmade candle.”

    - Eric and Katie Roering, founders of Fontana Candle Company

So often it is the perspective of an experienced and supportive SCORE mentor that will assist a company in viewing their mission with a fresh perspective. 

It became apparent to me that this business is more than just a commercial enterprise.  This business represents a personal mission to provide a healthy product that most U.S. households consume.  And in supplying that healthy product to consumers, they are engaged in educating their customers while incorporating the story of Fontana in their product packaging.  It’s very powerful!”

  - Jeff Eberts, SCORE volunteer mentor

Katie and Eric continue to work together regularly with their SCORE volunteer mentor on business development and plans for the future of Fontana Candle Company.

“We want Fontana to be a lifestyle brand dedicated to health and wellness through non-toxic products. We have a vision of being the first brand consumers think about when they think about ‘healthy candles.’ We have a fantastic marketing plan in place but will continue to need guidance with manufacturing and scaling the business.” 

  - Eric and Katie Roering, founders of Fontana Candle Company


Client│Mentor Profile: Fontana Candle Company