Concord candlemaker finds way to connect with local brewers

Ross Mingarelli pours to create scents for his speciality candles at is downtown Candle Tree Soy Candle shop. Mingarelli has over 600 different scents for his candles.

Ross Mingarelli pours to create scents for his speciality candles at is downtown Candle Tree Soy Candle shop. Mingarelli has over 600 different scents for his candles. GEOFF FORESTER—Monitor staff

Ross Mingarelli pours the hot soy wax for his speciality candles at is downtown Candle Tree Soy Candle shop.

Ross Mingarelli pours the hot soy wax for his speciality candles at is downtown Candle Tree Soy Candle shop. GEOFF FORESTER—Monitor staff

Ross Mingarelli pours the hot soy wax for his speciality candles at is downtown Candle Tree Soy Candle shop.

Ross Mingarelli pours the hot soy wax for his speciality candles at is downtown Candle Tree Soy Candle shop. GEOFF FORESTER—Monitor staff

Ross Mingarelli flattens the bottom of cans for his speciality beer can candles at his downtown Candle Tree Soy Candle shop in Concord.

Ross Mingarelli flattens the bottom of cans for his speciality beer can candles at his downtown Candle Tree Soy Candle shop in Concord. GEOFF FORESTER—Monitor staff

Ross Mingarelli uses a dropper to create scents for his speciality candles at is downtown Candle Tree Soy Candle shop. Mingarelli has over 600 different scents for his candles.

Ross Mingarelli uses a dropper to create scents for his speciality candles at is downtown Candle Tree Soy Candle shop. Mingarelli has over 600 different scents for his candles. GEOFF FORESTER—Monitor staff

Ross Mingarelli hand stirs the hot soy wax to create the marbling effect for his speciality candles at is downtown Candle Tree Soy Candle shop.

Ross Mingarelli hand stirs the hot soy wax to create the marbling effect for his speciality candles at is downtown Candle Tree Soy Candle shop. GEOFF FORESTER—Monitor staff

Ross Mingarelli pours the hot soy wax for his specialty beer can candles at his downtown shop in Concord.

Ross Mingarelli pours the hot soy wax for his specialty beer can candles at his downtown shop in Concord. Ross Mingarelli pours the hot soy wax for his specialty beer can candles at his downtown shop in Concord.

Ross Mingarelli pours to create scents for his speciality candles at is downtown Candle Tree Soy Candle shop. Mingarelli has over 600 different scents for his candles.

Ross Mingarelli pours to create scents for his speciality candles at is downtown Candle Tree Soy Candle shop. Mingarelli has over 600 different scents for his candles. GEOFF FORESTER—Monitor staff

Ross Mingarelli pours the hot soy wax for his speciality beer can candles at his downtown Candle Tree Soy Candle shop in Concord.

Ross Mingarelli pours the hot soy wax for his speciality beer can candles at his downtown Candle Tree Soy Candle shop in Concord. GEOFF FORESTER—Monitor staff

Ross Mingarelli stirs the hot wax for his candles at is downtown Candle Tree Soy Candle shop. Mingarelli has over 600 different scents for his candles.

Ross Mingarelli stirs the hot wax for his candles at is downtown Candle Tree Soy Candle shop. Mingarelli has over 600 different scents for his candles. GEOFF FORESTER—Monitor staff

Ross Mingarelli buys beer for his speciality beer can candles at his downtown Candle Tree Soy Candle shop in Concord.

Ross Mingarelli buys beer for his speciality beer can candles at his downtown Candle Tree Soy Candle shop in Concord. GEOFF FORESTER—Monitor staff

Ross Mingarelli pours the hot soy wax for his specialty beer can candles at his downtown Candle Tree Soy Candle shop in Concord.

Ross Mingarelli pours the hot soy wax for his specialty beer can candles at his downtown Candle Tree Soy Candle shop in Concord. GEOFF FORESTER / Monitor staff

By GEOFF FORESTER and JONATHAN VAN FLEET

Monitor staff

Published: 03-03-2024 6:00 PM

Modified: 03-04-2024 11:26 AM


Ross Mingarelli carefully poured hot liquid soy into a row of square glass jars and added drops of color and liquid fragrance.

With a slow stir, each one became its own functional piece of art.

“I feel like I have a lot of passion behind my candles. They’re very different. They’re unique,” Mingarelli said from inside his downtown Concord store Candle Tree. “I just found a very artistic way to make them because when you go to craft shows or fairs, all the candles are almost the same thing. They’re all just solid colors or plain white wax.”

A tree worker by profession, Mingarelli realized he had down time in the wintertime and was thinking about new ways of making income. About eight years ago, a friend told him about Pinterest, and he started investigating items he could sell online, thinking cutting boards would be the winning ticket since he could use all the leftover wood he had from his felling jobs.

It turned out the candles caught his eye. He did some research and decided to try soy wax. Almost by accident, while experimenting with different colors in his basement, he saw a peculiar marbling, which he liked. So he mastered it.

“I got really good at it,” he said.

Even though Mingarelli is not much of a drinker, he’s started using beer cans from New Hampshire breweries to make candles.

“For some reason, it just kind of hit me that I should make beer candles,” he said.

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He tries to match the scents with the labels. For example, the candle poured into an empty can of Safe Space IPA made by Concord Craft Brewery features a rainbow on the label and smells like Froot Loops.

He’s currently buying four-packs of beer and giving them to friends who diligently drink them, rinse the cans and give them back. He sterilizes the aluminum containers and then fills them with wax, color and scent. His end goal is to make connections with local breweries, pick up clean empty cans and then bring the candles back to be sold where they came from, like Henniker Brewing Company, Feathered Friend and 603 Brewery.

“People are getting really excited over the beer can candles because a lot of people have their favorite beer from their favorite brewery and, to see that can in candle form, it’s just mind-boggling,” Mingarelli said. “It’s blowing their minds.”

His next phase is to use wine and beer bottles as vessels for candles.

He partners with other businesses on fundraisers, like filling up Easter baskets with dog toys like Darbster Doggy pet daycare and adoption in Chichester.

He’s expanded his storefront, complete with the original tin ceiling, into a portion of the old CVS building to include a workshop where he makes the candles on-site. He hosts classes where customers can come in and create their own custom candles using myriad colors and any of his 600 different scents.

With the permission of his landlord, Mark Ciborowski, he adorns his building with seasonal decorations, like Santa Claus and his reindeer. Next will be a shamrock for St. Patrick’s Day. He uses the bucket truck from his tree service to get to the upper levels of the building.

“I decorate because I like to be part of the community and people like to see all that stuff. I feel like Main Street is so quiet and just kind of just too quiet,” he said. “I’m trying to put a little excitement into Main Street.”

His business has become so successful, it’s now outpacing his tree service.

Candle Tree, located at 44 North Main St., is open from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Wednesday through Saturday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Sundays, and is closed on Mondays and Tuesdays.