Yankee Candle parent company opens research and development lab in South Deerfield

  • Massachusetts Housing and Economic Development Secretary Mike Kennealy speaks to those gathered for the ribbon-cutting ceremony of Newell Brands’ research and development facility in South Deerfield on Friday. STAFF PHOTO/PAUL FRANZ

  • Rich Wuerthele of Newell Brands welcomes those gathered for the opening of the the company’s research and development lab in South Deerfield on Friday. STAFF PHOTO/PAUL FRANZ

  • Rich Wuerthele of Newell Brands welcomes those gathered for the opening of the company’s research and development lab in South Deerfield on Friday. STAFF PHOTO/PAUL FRANZ

  • From left, state Sen. Jo Comerford, Ann-Margaret Ferrante, co-chair of the Legislature’s Economic Development Committee, Greenfield Community College President Yves Salomon-Fernández and state Rep. Natalie Blais light candles at the ribbon-cutting ceremony of Newell Brands’ research and development facility in South Deerfield on Friday. STAFF PHOTO/PAUL FRANZ

  • Newell Brands’ research and development lab in South Deerfield creates fragrances and candles. STAFF PHOTO/PAUL FRANZ

  • State Sen. Jo Comerford, left, and state Rep. Natalie Blais speak with state Housing and Economic Development Secretary Mike Kennealy at the ribbon-cutting ceremony of Newell Brands’ research and development facility in South Deerfield on Friday. STAFF PHOTO/PAUL FRANZ

Staff Writer
Published: 12/9/2019 1:41:30 PM

SOUTH DEERFIELD — The Egyptians are credited with making the first candle out of beeswax in roughly 3,000 B.C.

Five thousand years later, the world’s largest candle company has invested $6.5 million to improve upon the ancient invention.

Newell Brands, the parent company that owns Yankee Candle, Chesapeake Bay Candle and WoodWick, held a grand opening and ribbon-cutting at its Home Fragrance Division’s research and development lab at 5 North St. in South Deerfield on Friday. The 25,000-square-foot lab will develop, prototype and test new candles, home fragrance and auto freshener products.

Home Fragrance Division CEO Rich Wuerthele and Research and Development Vice President Daily Gist addressed the guests –— which included state Sen. Jo Comerford, D-Northampton, state Reps. Natalie M. Blais, D-Sunderland, and Ann-Margaret Ferrante, co-chair of the Legislature’s Economic Development Committee, and state Housing and Economic Development Secretary Mike Kennealy — before a pair of tours were led throughout the facility, which will employ 65 people who start Monday. Greenfield Community College President Yves Salomon-Fernández was also in attendance.

“At the end of the day, we’re the world’s largest candle company. Our ambition is to be the world’s largest fragrance company,” Wuerthele said, mentioning the production of wax, melts, diffusers, plug-ins and sprays. He said about $300 million of the more than $1 billion the business does in sales annually comes from these products. Newell Brands also owns brands such as Sharpie, Crock-Pot, Rubbermaid and Elmer’s.

Wuerthele said there is something cathartic about wax and wicks, especially considering the current political climate.

“There’s nothing better than lighting a candle and letting the weight of the world come off your shoulders at the end of the day,” he said, adding that three-fourths of the company’s sales come from the United Kingdom. “It’s the same thing for them. They think about Brexit, they light a candle, they relax.”

Gist said the building “allows us to have a best-in-class research and development facility.”

“Our company is really on a journey,” she said, adding that the traditionally wax-based industry is migrating toward other forms of fragrance.

Wuerthele said Newell Brands started preparing the building, which was originally the car museum of Yankee Candle founder Michael J. Kittredge II, in June.

Research and Development Director Sam Macio led the tour. He said a lab with 200 to 250 outlets will be used to test plug-in products. Staff members will monitor the items’ weight loss to determine if the proper amount of fragrance is being released. Macio also brought guests to the wax application lab, where he said employees will mix wax to make candles for testing in a separate room.

“I love the smell,” he said after someone commented on the Christmas pine aroma. “So good.”

The tour also went through the burn room, where candles are lit to determine flame height and burn times, and to ensure consistent burns.

There is also an analytical lab, where Macio said candles are broken down into their compound form to better understand the materials the products are made of, and a secure storage room, among other spaces.

One special guest of the ceremony was Michael J. “Mick” Kittredge III, the son of Yankee Candle’s founder, who died suddenly in July at age 67. The younger Kittredge, who owns the Kringle Candle Co. and its associated Farm Table restaurant in Bernardston, said Wuerthele invited him.

“I just thought it was a nice thing to attend. And he was nice enough to extend the invitation,” he said before his tour. “It’s nice to be a part of the opening. This place has a part in my soul and the history of my family, and it’s nice to be included in something like this, to have a friendly relationship with (Newell Brands).”

 




Daily Hampshire Gazette Office

115 Conz Street
Northampton, MA 01061
413-584-5000

 

Copyright © 2019 by H.S. Gere & Sons, Inc.
Terms & Conditions - Privacy Policy