Sometimes, a step back in time provides progress towards remembering why the simple things are what really matter. Jon Kornbluh, founder of Bluecorn Beeswax, has exemplified the ideals of living a basic and spirited life and that in turn has become the ethos of his business’s philosophy
Bluecorn Beeswax began from humble beginnings over thirty years ago in a small shack with no electricity or running water along Butcher Creek in Telluride Colorado. Kornbluh moved his operation to a house he purchased in Rico in 1994; then in 2008, he created a 4,300-square-foot manufacturing facility in Ridgway to house the growing company.
The Ridgway location served its purpose until demand exceeded production capacity. Kornbluh had to decide if it was time to sell his business, or expand and undertake the added burdens of extra staff and associated costs. He enlisted professional help to assess both his company's shortcomings and its associated growth potential before he put it up for sale. This process helped him realize Bluecorn was at a “crossroads to grow it or let it go.” After looking at everything and everyone involved in the Bluecorn family, he realized he still had a passion for the company.
With the onset of Covid-19, Bluecorn’s already successful online business exploded and it became very apparent that something had to change. After on and off talks, Kornbluh found an opportunity for exponential growth in 2020 with the financial backing of Faison Capital, a Florida based private equity firm. The partnership allowed for the opening of a magnificent new 26,000 square foot storefront in Montrose that includes a café, retail showroom, and manufacturing facility.
From using clean and natural ingredients to training local artisans in the different techniques of candle making, Kornbluh has always tried to put people first in his business. Most candles on the market today are created with paraffin wax, a byproduct of the motor oil production process. Bluecorn uses only sustainable beeswax cappings, which are a byproduct of the honey harvest that leaves the comb intact for reuse. The wax then undergoes a natural filtering process to remove particulates that can affect the quality of a candle's burn. The use of pure essential oils also sets Bluecorn apart from the competition.
With the completion of their Montrose location, or what Kornbluh has dubbed their “global brand headquarters,” becoming involved in the community has become a priority for the business. The Mercantile was designed to sell a vast variety of candle products with accessories sourced locally from Bennett Forgeworks (a company run by Tom Bennett, one of Kornbluh’s college friends currently out of Ridgway) along with a number of other products to transform Bluecorn from a candle company to a complete lifestyle brand.
These products are not only sold at their Montrose showroom but are shipped through an extensive direct to consumer model that includes their own website Beeswaxcandles.com. They are also available through Amazon. The wholesale business is also growing by leaps and bounds as they have recently begun to produce candles for Crate & Barrel.
The new Montrose headquarters was created with a floor to ceiling glass wall that separates the new café and retail space from the attached manufacturing facility. This gives guests the opportunity to watch the candle creation process firsthand.
Customers can actually watch the candles being dipped and formed. Kornbluh looks forward to the day when, “people will be able to get behind the glass and into wax.” He plans on having times that people can come in and learn the candle making process and create something that they can take home from their visit.
The Bluecorn Café and Mercantile in the Montrose location provides high quality tea and coffee drinks along with a variety of breakfast and lunch items, adding a new dimension to Bluecorn’s business. Kornbluh and his team put the utmost importance on using local and sustainable products whenever possible, from the greens in their salads to the eggs in the frittatas. If they are unable to source a product directly from the Uncompahgre Valley that meets their needs then they still use items from within Colorado.
The relaxed ambiance created a space that is unique to the area and will continue to evolve to meet the needs of their patrons. The entirety of the retail space was designed on wheels, so everything can be moved out and opened up for musical acts that are already in the works. A liquor license is also in the pipeline to help the Bluecorn Café and Mercantile become more than just somewhere to spend the morning or afternoon.
Kornbluh and the Bluecorn family have big plans that are already coming to fruition with the fragrant scent of beeswax following in their wake.