The Yankee Candle Story: It's Your Story Too!

On a cold, December night in South Hadley, Massachusetts, a 16-year-old high school student sat at his family's kitchen table. Christmas was just around the corner and he didn't have any money to buy a gift for his mother. Fortunately, his desperation led to inspiration.

He decided to make a candle for his mom because it would be a completely unique and personal gift – something she would really appreciate. He also knew she was a little nostalgic, too, and that memories and emotions were important to her. Best of all, she loved to celebrate the holidays.

So he created a simple candle from everyday materials he found there in the kitchen: household wax, a red crayon, some string for a wick and a milk carton for the mold. A neighbor happened to see the candle before he could give it to his mother and was so impressed, she convinced him to sell it to her. With his newfound wealth, the teenager bought enough materials to make two new candles – one for his mother and another to sell. And that's how Yankee Candle was born.

Today, The Yankee Candle Company is proud to be a part of so many people's lives, from celebrating special moments to making every day brighter. Because of this, we have a uniquely personal relationship with our customers. It's something we never take for granted. After nearly 50 years, we remain as particular, passionate, creative, caring and genuine as ever. We still make sure that every product and service we offer reflect the things that matter most to us … and to you.

Here's how we've spent our years together:

1969 - A sixteen-year-old high school student begins to design and handcraft candles in his family's home. With his father's help, he opens a small retail shop near the Mount Holyoke College campus. His candles are soon in demand at other local stores as well.

1973 - To meet the growing demand for taper and pillar candles, all 12 employees of the company now known as Yankee Candle move into an old paper mill in Holyoke, Mass. They open their first factory outlet store on the ground floor.

1974 - As more customers request scented candles, Yankee Candle introduces their Country Kitchen® and Bath BriteTM candles – the first scented apothecary candle jars – with the hands-down favorite fragrances: Bayberry, Cinnamon, Cranberry, Pine and French Vanilla.

1977 - Yankee Candle is THE big story at the Boston Gift Show, where the candles' high quality and evocative fragrances set them apart from the rest. Retailers nationwide take notice – and place big orders for their stores.

1983 - To better serve more New England customers, Yankee Candle moves its store to South Deerfield, Mass. – the busy crossroads for most auto traffic between New York and Vermont.

1984 - The Yankee Candle factory follows to South Deerfield, and the flagship store begins to expand – eventually serving visitors with several unique specialty shops and eateries.

1986 - To help celebrate New England's tradition of handcraftsmanship, Yankee Candle opens a second store in historic Sturbridge, Mass.

1987 - The very first Yankee Candle mail order catalog arrives in homes around the country. Customers can order many popular candles (or send them as gifts) even if they don't live near a Yankee Candle store.

1989 - Yankee Candle stores open their doors and welcome new customers in Newport, R.I., North Conway, N.H., Lenox, Mass. and North Attleboro, Mass. The company's most popular products are also available through their 12,000 wholesale accounts.

1991 - Santa makes his first helicopter arrival at the flagship store in South Deerfield to start the holiday season. It quickly became an annual New England tradition that continues to this day.

1993 - The Bavarian Christmas Village opened inside the flagship store in South Deerfield. Authentically detailed, it features a 25 ft. rotating Christmas tree and a glockenspiel clock tower. The village is key to launching the theme “it's always Christmas at Yankee Candle” and helping make the flagship store one of New England's most popular attractions.

1994 - Yankee Candle celebrates its 25th anniversary. And to meet the growing demand for high-quality candles – proudly made in the USA – the factory moves to a larger home in nearby Whately, Mass.

1996 - Yankee Candle launches its fledgling website (, welcoming a new generation of customers and giving long-time fans a new way to shop – at home or from the office – anytime.

1998 - To meet increasing demand, the company opens 50 new stores nationwide. Further afield, Bristol, England, becomes the home of Yankee Candle International, serving folks in 24 countries around the world.

2001 - In response to the events of September 11, Yankee Candle donates thousands of candles for memorial services across the country. Proceeds from the sale of the Spirit of America candle go to the American Red Cross Disaster Relief Fund.

2002 - To help keep the flame burning, Yankee Candles are offered on US military bases. Today they are available, at a discount and tax-free, to military families in more than 500 military exchange stores around the world.

2005 - The company's flagship store, now known as Yankee Candle Village, in South Deerfield proves so popular a second Yankee Candle Village is built in Williamsburg, Va. – to the delight of holiday shoppers and year-round visitors alike. The world's largest candle store, like South Deerfield, it features a town square, a holiday park where it snows indoors all year and animatronic entertainment shows.

2010 - Yankee Candles become the #1 premium scented candle in the United Kingdom. Still proudly made in the USA, Yankee Candles remain the top choice for millions of candle-lovers around the world – even in China.

2011 - Yankee Candle opens its first company-owned retail stores in Canada.

2012 - Our popularity in the United Kingdom paves the way to launch Consumer Direct operations there, bringing our candles and home accents directly to customers.

2013 - Yankee Candle joins Jarden Corporation’s portfolio of leading branded companies, opening the doors to leverage Jarden’s global scale and presence to continue to grow our International business.

Today Yankee Candle employs more than 6,000 skilled, dedicated workers around the world. You can find Yankee Candle Stores in more than 575 locations, and our popular candles, fragrances and accessories are available at over 35,000 Authorized Yankee Candle® Retailers. Chances are good there's one near you.

Unlike many brands, our story is your story, too. Yankee Candle shares your passion around making each day a little brighter, a little better, a little more enjoyable…with your favorite fragrance. We're honored to be part of that, and it's a responsibility we've never taken lightly.

As a favorite gift, a cherished tradition, or a way to make wherever you are feel like home, you can always count on Yankee candles. Thank you for making us part of your life.

Back to previous page.