The first thing that hits you as you walk into Magnolia Soap and Bath Company on Third Street downtown is the smell. A good, inviting smell, that is.
The maker and seller of soap and other related goods downtown opened earlier this month, to quite the fanfare.
“[The line] was wrapped all the way around Jalapenos,” said owner Brian Fox, who owns the franchise with his wife Julie.
The two started working on setting up the shop in January, and things came together pretty quickly. Julie came from the healthcare field, and Brian did too – he still flies emergency medical helicopters for Aspirus. Before that, he flew helicopters for the U.S. Army.
Magnolia Soap and Bath Company origins
The couple had been looking to build a business together and they learned about Magnolia Soap and Bath Company through a friend in Alabama. That friend was starting a store down there, where most of the franchise exists, and it seemed like a great idea. All the soaps are 100% plant-based with no added chemicals such as commercial soaps will have.
As it stands, they now have been running the only Magnolia in the Midwest, after only having the idea in January. “Things moved pretty quickly,” Brian said.
Opening June 2 was impressive, with such a long line for the opening, but it wasn’t much of a surprise. Brian said many other store openings in other states saw similar enthusiasm. But for new business owners, such an early reception is always welcome.
Why? It helps that all the products are made in-store. Julie was mixing up some soap as I walked into Magnolia on a Thursday afternoon. Long bars of soap cooled on the countertop. Brian has me put my hand up to one, and it’s still warm from being “baked.”
Jars of scents line the counter behind the workstation, and they can make 82 different scents for the soaps, some by mixing combinations of scents together. Besides bars of soap, they have laundry detergent, which is really popular; bath bombs, kids products, and even something to put on your dog so that he or she doesn’t smell as bad in between baths.
They also have items to put in your shower to make it an aromatherapy experience.
Why Magnolia Soap and Bath Company chose downtown
Why downtown? It was a strategic choice, Brian says. They looked at Rib Mountain and other locations, but foot traffic is essential. Why? The scent mentioned at the beginning of the story is basically a calling card as people walk by the former Lamplighter space. “We definitely get a lot of people coming in who say ‘we smelled you from two doors down and we had to come see what you were all about,’” Brian says. “So foot traffic is very important to us.”
I asked both Brian and Julie what their favorite scents were. Brian answered its one called salting, which has a little coconut smell to it. Julie named several before saying “Well, they’re all good.”
Magnolia Soap and Bath Company is open 10 am to 6 pm every day. They’re located at 320 N. Third St., Wausau. Find them on Facebook at Magnolia Soap and Bath Company Wausau.