FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Thursday, December 10, 2020
KIMMSWICK, Mo. — To help the City of Kimmswick offset revenue losses from the cancellation of October’s annual Apple Butter Festival due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Kimmswick Candle Co. co-owners Gary Mills and Jerri Birsinger today presented Kimmswick City Clerk/Treasurer Tammy Benack and the City a donation of $742.
The donation is made on behalf of online retailer Kimmswick Candle Co. and its customers from proceeds of the sales of the company’s signature Apple Butter and other scented all-natural soy wax candles in late October and November.
“When we shared Mayor Phil Stang’s October plea for donations to the city and our pledge to donate $5 from the sale of each Apple Butter scented candle to the city, we could not have anticipated the response from our customers wanting to help,” Mills said.
“Within 48 hours, our posts on social media went viral and we sold out our entire inventory of Apple Butter candles,” he said.
But it was the outpouring of support for the city from Kimmswick Candle Co.’s social media followers that was even more heartwarming.
“We’re happy that in addition to providing a modest amount of direct financial support, we were able to shine a light on the city’s plight and to encourage others to donate directly and to support the city’s retail shops and restaurants,” Mills said.
Kimmswick Candle Co. is extending through Dec. 31 its pledge to donate $5 from the sale of each Apple Butter candle and $1 from the sale of each of its other scented candles to the city.
Candles can be purchased online at kimmswickcandleco.com. Delivery and porch pick-ups are available.
On Oct 19, days before what would have been the start of the 2020 Kimmswick Apple Butter Festival, Kimmswick Candle Co. co-owners Gary Mills and Jerri Birsinger saw Kimmswick Mayor Phil Stang’s plea for help:
“We have explored all avenues of relief; federal, state and county funding to no avail. Kimmswick needs $200,000.00, to survive in 2021. We will have no employees or city services, without outside help.”
The cancellation of the 2020 Kimmswick Apple Butter Festival followed back-to-back cancellations of its annual Strawberry Festival — first in 2019 due to nearby flooding and safety concerns, and in 2020 because of the coronavirus pandemic.
The two festivals, which bring tens of thousands of visitors to the city on two weekends per year, are responsible for as much as 80 percent of the city’s revenue stream, Stang wrote in his plea for donations on the city’s website.
Faced with excess inventory of Apple Butter scented candles made prior to the festival’s cancellation, Kimmswick Candle Co.’s Gary Mills posted a blog to the company’s website, kimmswickcandleco.com, and posts to its Facebook page, pledging to donate $5 from the sale of each Apple Butter candle through November 30 to the City of Kimmswick’s fundraising efforts.
In less than 48 hours, new and returning Kimmswick Candle Co. customers saw the call for help and snapped up the company’s entire inventory of Apple Butter candles.
With that outpouring of support, co-owners Mills and Birsinger poured additional Apple Butter candles and expanded their pledge to donate $1 from the sale of each of its other scented candles to the cause.
In all, more than 100 Apple Butter and 200 other scented candles were sold through November, raising more than $740 to donate to the City of Kimmswick.
Siblings Gary Mills and Jerri Birsinger launched Kimmswick Candle Co. in January 2019, focusing on scented candles made with all-natural soy wax, cotton wicks and phthalate-free fragrances. Their candles, sold online at kimmswickcandleco.com, are hand-poured in small batches at Jerri’s home in Arnold. Gary and Jerri are both 1989 graduates of Fox High School.