Bill Stewart, who was living near Saginaw at the time, started Bullfrog Light Company in 1981, after playing around with making candles as part of a school project he was doing with his kids. His kids soon became distracted and moved on to other endeavors - but Bill, fascinated by the process, continued his pursuit of the perfect candle for several years.
Working with high-quality wax, he soon developed a method by which he could make candles that would glow from top to bottom, unlike most candles which primarily glow only where the top of the wick is located. Succeeding at this twist on the traditional candle was all it took for Stewart to decide that his creations might make a great commercial venture.
But, of course, a new candle company needed a standout name.
Since it was spring, the bullfrogs in the nearby Shiawassee Flats Game Refuge were very loud, chuckled Betsy Stewart, so that seemed the natural name for the company.
And so Bullfrog Light Company was born. The company started off slow but within about four years, it was obvious that the original manufacturing site was too small, so Bullfrog Light Co. moved up north to Charlevoix.
Celebrating 25 years in business this summer, Bullfrog Light Co. has an outlet store at their factory in Charlevoix, and also have a website via which Bullfrog Candle fans can purchase candles right online. They also wholesale their wares to gift and candle shops around the nation.
So what makes Bullfrog Candles so sought after?
Well, once again, its that Bullfrog
secret candle glow. But they cant show you how they get it, or... well, you know the drill. Although its definitely an appealing thought, especially for the crafty, customers arent allowed to tour the candle factory due to safety reasons, so youll just have to rely on Betsy Stewart and Jane Wests explanation - they call it scientifically developed magic.
But while the science may be a trade secret, the beauty of the candles is obvious - they are quality-made, unequalled in glow, and come in a wide range of designs, something for just about anyone.
Some of the most popular designs are the holiday collections, Betsy explains, and the pineapple design is very popular as a hostess gift, as it is an early American symbol of hospitality. We are especially excited about our newest custom candles - the Great Lakes Lighthouse Collection and the School Emblems/Logos Collection.
The School Emblems Collection is pretty nifty, whether youre in high school, an alumni, or are simply a fan of a certain university. Bullfrog Light Co. can customize one of their white candles with any school logo - and, in fact, can customize candles with just about any design by special order.
READY TO GO
But youre just as likely to find something you like simply by browsing their already-available candle designs. Some of the standouts include the very unusual Marble Cubes, which glow with an artistic cracked-stone look; the Botanical Garden Collection, which features handpicked pressed flowers; the Nautical Images Collection, which includes images of signal flags, fish, and the aforementioned Lighthouses; the elegant Classic Pillars, which are offered in Ivory and White versions as well as in various colors; the Wilderness Collection, which features intricate renderings of moose, pine trees, wolves, and more; and the Geometric Suits, perfect for a night of card-playing with friends.
None of the candles are scented, both because of allergies and to improve burning quality - but you wont miss it once you see how gorgeous these candles are. Theyre not your typical store-bought candles, thats for sure - and youll also be surprised to find out that although the candles may be quite upscale in looks, their prices are wallet-friendly.
The prices vary from around $11 to $35, Jane West says, and at their slow-burning rate, they are what we like to call affordable luxury.
Check out Bullfrog Candle Company online at www.bullfrogcandles.com, give them a call at 800-499-3332, or stop by their great outlet shop on M-66, just off of US31 in Charlevoix, across from KMart.