Cork & Candles Brings Candle Making to Downtown Philly

Photo courtesy Cork and Candles Philadelphia LLC

Cork & Candles takes the leap from one humble store in King of Prussia to a second location in the heart of downtown Philadelphia.

Do you ever wonder what it was like to drink a coffee from the first Starbucks, get a burger from the first McDonalds or shop at the first Ikea? You might get a chance to experience something like that this weekend when Kenny Straub and his father, Dave, open their second Cork & Candles location in downtown Philadelphia.

After two years running a very successful business in the heart of King of Prussia, Straub is looking to expand. The vision for the future of his business is to have over 100 Cork & Candles franchised out all across the coast of the northeast U.S.

It goes without saying that Straub is a long way from that goal, but the biggest leap in any business is going from zero stores to one, and the next largest is going from one to two. With a location primed for success in the heart of downtown Philadelphia, it’s hard to see this iteration of Cork & Candles failing to reach the level of success its King of Prussia counterpart has already achieved.

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The original location out in the Western Suburbs is much closer to Straub’s home in West Chester. There he can monitor its day-to-day actions with much more ease, rather than taking the nearly 60-minute drive into the city in case of an emergency.

So though this storefront will see more foot traffic, given that it’s located in the heart of downtown Philadelphia, it will be more difficult to administrate. That said, Cork & Candles’ business model is a simple one, something that you may be surprised to find out hasn’t yet been capitalized upon in any meaningful way.

While there are already hundreds of wine and painting (and other art style) classes along the East Coast, there are very few wine and candle shops. 

Cork & Candles offers a 90-minute, BYOB candle-making experience. Guests can reserve a table or walk in during calmer business hours and choose from over 70 different scents to make the candle of their dreams, all the while sipping wine and talking with friends, family or business partners.

“Candle making is just a medium for spending quality time together,” Straub notes.

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He compares it to meeting at Top Golf, bowling or a sporting event. The chief difference being that candle making lacks a competitive edge. For many out there who simply aren’t competitive or athletic, those experiences can be a nightmare.

Cork & Candles presents a healthy alternative to that. Participants get a hands-on experience and go home with something useful that they’ve created without any need for competition or rivalry. 

With so many different scents to choose from, and seasonal options coming and going, there are over 7,000 possible combinations for one-of-a-kind candles. No two candles made in-store will ever be the same, not only because of the myriad scents, but because of the imperceptible differences in measurements. It’s one of the many things that sets Cork & Candles apart from its competitors.


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Of course, if you want to just peruse the pre-made selections, Cork & Candles has plenty of options to choose from, like candles that resemble summer cocktails, bowls of cereal or flower pots.

It’s easy to see why the business model has been so successful. Plus, with the Philadelphia location ready to launch, it seems like only a matter of time before Cork & Candles begins scouting out sites for future openings. Until then, be sure to check out the newest Cork & Candles location, which opens Saturday, June 24 at 1315 Walnut St. in Philadelphia.

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