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Best Place to Buy Cool Candles 

Creative Candles Factory Outlet

Creative Candles are made by real people. The 40-year-old company's "factory" on Broadway (behind an unobtrusive little sign and up one flight of stairs) contains no whirring machinery -- just artisans quietly dipping large racks of taper candles into vats of hot wax and creating pillar candles by pouring softly colored and scented wax into molds. On one afternoon, a warm cinnamon candy smell fills the air, emanating from freshly made "gourmet" clove, chocolate, blueberry, and lemon candles. "They are dipped by hand or poured into the molds by hand, popped out by hand; they are shaved and finished and wrapped by hand," says sales coordinator Cheryl Lindeman. "We are one of the few companies in the country that still makes handmade candles." The company uses high-quality wax and wicks to create slow, bright-burning candles, and airy scents that contain essential oils. Creative Candles illuminate Japanese weddings and Saudi Arabian homes and have even graced a White House dining table. But candle lovers have to come to Kansas City to visit the factory outlet and buy the slightly flawed or "one of a kind" candles (layered pillars made from leftover wax at the whim of the artisan -- each stripe has a different color and scent) at a 35 percent discount; a nice-size pillar can be had for about $10. The outlet has limited hours (11 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. weekdays with some Saturday hours during holiday season), but it's a candle lover's haven. "This has always been kind of like a little secret," says co-owner Michael Halpern.

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