KALAMAZOO – Kalamazoo Candle Company earned the coveted Makers’ Mart title Thursday at Catalyst University, a daylong leadership event annually hosted by Southwest Michigan First. Kalamazoo Candle Company was selected by the 2,500 event attendees from a pool of four finalists—all regional product makers based in Southwest Michigan. The company wins $5,000 in cash and in-kind contributions. 

Kalamazoo Candle Company, located in downtown Kalamazoo, features a variety of handmade scented candles with a local touch, including a historical picture of Kalamazoo on each label. Owner Adam McFarlin founded the business in October 2013 and has seen strong growth since, moving into a new space within Kalamazoo’s Park Trades Center at the start of 2017.

As the winner of the 2017 Makers’ Mart competition sponsored by the Western Michigan University Haworth College of Business, Kalamazoo Candle Company is recognized with a $2,500 prize. Additionally, they will receive over $2,500 worth of legal, marketing and accounting consultancy services from Varnum LLP, Newhall Klein and Southwest Michigan First respectively.

The third annual Makers’ Mart competition accepted applications from across Southwest Michigan and a selection committee chose four finalists for the live competition, which included a live onstage presentation followed by an onsite audience vote. Finalists also hosted booths at the event from which they sold their products. In addition to Kalamazoo Candle Company, other finalists included Free Love Bakery, Portage, MI; Hilltop Designs, Hopkins, MI; and The Green Glove Dryer, Portage, MI.

“All finalists in this year’s competition are shining examples of the great small businesses that are hard at work and thriving in our region. Not only were all of our finalists extremely motivated, but each business represented a product line telling a personal and unique story,” said Ron Kitchens, chief executive officer and senior partner of Southwest Michigan First. “Southwest Michigan First is proud to present Kalamazoo Candle Company as the winner of the 2017 Makers’ Mart competition.”

For more information about Southwest Michigan First, please visit us at www.southwestmichiganfirst.com, or call 269.553.9588.