by CONNIE TABBERT
WHITEWATER REGION (Beachburg) — Kim and Jason Jamieson may have been presented with a prestigious award, but they know they didn’t earn it on their own.
The Beachburg couple are the new owners of Simple Things in Beachburg and Whitewater Premium Candle Co. in Westmeath and recently were awarded Best Booth under 400 square feet at the Toronto Gift Fair held in January. This fair is for vendors to purchase items from wholesalers. The Jamiesons were selling their line of Whitewater Premium Candle.
This is the fourth show the couple have attended. Not only is it an opportunity to sell their products, but Mr. Jamieson said, it’s an opportunity to check out other vendors as they shop for items for their own store.
He noted the fair is a networking tool, as they earn 50 percent new customers at each show. He said that the second order on one day was “a huge order to the Yukon” and that they also spoke to two suppliers from Dubai.
“We meet all types of vendors, from store owners, industrial and commercial, such as wedding planners,” Mr. Jamieson said.
The booth is judged by a panel of judges, although no one knows who they are until the awards are presented, he said.
“It was an awesome feeling to win,” Mr. Jamieson said.
He did note Mrs. Jamieson wasn’t present when the award was announced because she out shopping for the store.
He said he hadn’t heard the announcement that Whitewater Premium Candle Co. had won, but nearby vendors started looking at him and then coming over and congratulating him.
“It’s the first time we won as new owners,” Mr. Jamieson said.
The booth is not only judged on how the product is displayed, but how they interact with the public, Mr. Jamieson said. Mrs. Jamieson said the display is judged on where the products are placed, shelving, lighting, props, etc.
She added, “It was a good feeling after just buying the company. We are carrying on the torch of a great, quality product.”
The couple purchased the two businesses that go hand-in-hand, but in so doing, agreed it was time to shut down the flower/gift shop they operated on the farm just on the edge of Beachburg on Beachburg Road.
While they took over the two businesses on Jan. 24, 2018, the sale wasn’t finalized until this past January, he said. Mr. Jamieson said previous owners Mark Gauci and Stephen Braisford, who had been operating the business while living in Australia for the past three years, approached them about buying the business. They knew they wanted to sell and had been approached by other potential owners who wanted to move the businesses out of the area.
They wanted it to stay in the area, he added. Simple Things opened in 2007 and the candles were made in a back room. However, in 2011 that business moved to Westmeath under the name Whitewater Premium Candle Co.
“With the amount of orders, the business just kept growing,” Mr. Jamieson said. “They needed more space.”
There are currently 34 fragrances, the newest three are Citronella, Sugar Petals and Mystic Forest.
Mrs. Jamieson noted there are “lots of exciting new products (and fragrances) being introduced.”
It’s important the name “grabs the customers’ attention,” she said.
Mr. Jamieson agreed recalling the time a customer came in and wanted the fragrance called Up North. “She just had to have it.”
He said the fragrances are created by them, along with their five staff members.
“We all work together,” Mr. Jamieson said. “We do a lot of testing.”
And, it’s not all done at the Westmeath location, but at the Jamiesons’ home.
“Our house smells like a candle facility,” Mrs. Jamieson said with a laugh.
They are now working on fall scents.
“You’re always working ahead,” Mr. Jamieson said. “Right now we’re working on candle scents that will be sold at the (gift) fair in August.”
He said one of the unique things about their candles, is jars are all reusable and you can purchase tea lights and votives.
While the Whitewater Premium Candle Co. in Westmeath is mostly only for the making of the candles, Simple Things is where there’s “something for everyone,” Mrs. Jamieson said. Along with catering to the local people with the items in the store, with home decor and the garden centre, Mr. Jamieson noted the cottagers and tourists are “big business.”
Mrs. Jamieson said, “We’re always adding and taking away items.”
And that goes for the scented candles as well.
“If a fragrance is not selling, we pull it,” she said. “There’s also fragrances that goes with the seasons.”
Over the next month, customers will see changes occurring at the Beachburg store, and noted it could be closed for a day or two. They would rather close the store than have customers coming in while there could be a danger of them getting hurt.
The Jamiesons agree this is a family business, the same as the farm and the business Jamieson & Mackay Forming and Construction Ltd., which they operate with Scott MacKay. The family also includes their three children, Reuben, 16, and Bella, 13, who enjoy the farm work, and Lola, 8, who likes working with her mother at the store.
Throughout the winter months, Simple Things is open 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesday to Saturday. In May, the store hours will change.