Backyard Soaps leaving downtown Port Huron, in search of new retailer

Backyard Soaps and More, 215 Huron Avenue, is looking for a buyer. (Jeffrey Smith | Times Herald)

Backyard Soaps and More, 215 Huron Avenue, is looking for a buyer. (Jeffrey Smith | Times Herald)

By Tony Wittkowski | City Reporter | The Times Herald

FORT GRATIOT — After more than a decade, a store specializing in homemade soaps is looking to leave downtown Port Huron.

But it doesn’t mean you won’t be able to get a slice of the cherry almond, happy apple or divine angel soap.

Nancy Brown, owner of Backyard Soaps & Candles, is selling her store at 215 Huron Ave. And the new owner can continue carrying her products if they want, as the production part of the business will remain in Fort Gratiot and available online.

“It’s been on the back of my mind since the summer time,” she said. “We had a great holiday rush, and it was wonderful. I’m an absentee owner, and now I have another store in Connecticut.”

Brown said she is looking for someone to take over the location as a turn-key operation. This means she already has a built in clientele. The business would just need its own name.

The location would be equipped with the store’s current fixtures, furniture, office equipment and seasonal decorations. The new owner could choose to continue selling the products, but under a different name.

Brown hopes to have the store sold as soon as possible, having waited until the holiday season was over to make it available.

“My reason for this is that a downtown retailer store will have the best experience when you are a local owner that can take marketing to the next level,” Brown said. “I’ve been an absentee owner out of state for the last six years. It’s a world of difference when you are right there with your customers selling your products as an owner.”

Brown said she already has talked to a few people since posting the notice for a potential retailer.

“They would be able to lease from the current landlord, and they would come in and purchase all the finished goods, office equipment, furniture that are in the basement,” she said. “If someone is interested, they can call me and we can talk further.”

Dave Witt, landlord of the property said Brown told him she was going to sell her space last month.

Witt said he is willing to accept any newcomer as long as they are able to make their payments in an orderly fashion and pass a background screening.

“(Brown) is a wonderful lady,” Witt said. “You don’t have many people like her in this area. Each time I’ve met her, she has just been a joy to talk to.”

Backyard Soaps & Candles has been in Port Huron for more than a decade. In addition to soap and candles, the business provides body care products.

“It’s basically giving someone an opportunity to open up a retail store. We’ll continue having a wholesale manufacturing site in Fort Gratiot, and our items will be available online.”

The manufacturing factory is located at 2970 Cherry Hill Drive, Fort Gratiot.

The company currently employs two people at the retail store and six employees at the wholesale manufacturing site.

Brown said one of the two retail workers could be out of a job.

“If we have work in the factory, we would pull that employee to the factory to work,” Brown said. “Or she could work for whoever buys the store as well.”

Brown declined to say what the asking price for the retail store is.

“The asking price is very reasonable, but I would rather have someone call to find out what the price is,” Brown said.

To reach Brown, call the retail store at (810) 987-3910.

Contact Tony Wittkowski at (810) 989-6270 or twittkowsk@gannett.com. Follow him on Twitter @tonywittkowski.

(Author’s Note: This article was originally published on Jan. 5, 2015)

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