Adam Roush marshaled his experience as a chef to start making candles designed to appeal to masculine tastes when he couldn’t find any he liked.
Now Dueling Rabbits, his coffee, candle and plant company, offers a variety of candles with names such as Sawdust & Coriander; Victorian Greenhouse; and Peach & Tobacco Pipe.
The hands down favorite scent, though, is “Spirit of the Forest,” a fragrance he designed for his brother, a hunter.
“He didn’t buy candles because he could never find candles he liked, and he said if I could recreate his setting of waking up in a tent that he would buy candles,” Roush said.
He did, and his brother does.
Roush will be among the 100 vendors at the Oct. 21-22 Hagley Craft fair, an annual must-see for those interested in area artisans — and buying holiday presents for themselves and others.
Visitors can roam the marketplace, spread throughout the fall foliage around Hagley Library as well as inside and outside the Soda House, and then head to a food truck food court offering choices ranging from comfort food to Asian-fusion, as well as craft beer from Wilmington Brew Works.
This year’s Craft Fair is featuring emerging crafters such as Don’Tay Brady of A Flicker of Daisy Candle Co. and Dierra Cooper, who makes vegan paints for Autumn Leaf Co., a business she started in her teens.
Brady creates small-batch, hand-poured candles that smell great and “improve your mental state and well-being.”
One choice is “Smokey Nights,” featuring a fragrance that might evoke a friendly gathering around a firepit.
Its fragrance “intertwines rich vanilla with smokey, woody undertones and the freshness of lavender,” she said.
Her full-time occupation comes with a high level of stress—she works as an intensive care nurse in a neonatal unit.
Her candles help both her and her customers “drift away into a peaceful space.”
Roush and his wife, Nicole Rummel, moved to Delaware — her hometown — two years ago after she finished her Ph.D. at the University of Kentucky.
While his candles capture attention, it’s the coffee business he’s most focused on.
Dueling Rabbits makes small batch roasted coffee.
“We try to do international coffee, so a lot of different types for people to come and do tastings kind of like bourbon flights,” he said “We modeled ourselves basically after bourbon bars in Kentucky.”
Their coffee comes in 8-ounce bags that sell for $15 each. It can be shipped anywhere, he said.
Roush and his wife hope to open Wilmington’s first Plant Cafe, a place people can come to have coffee, and also buy plants and coffee.
They are a registered nursery with the state of Delaware and have a license for exotic and rare plants.
We try to do international coffee so a lot of different types for people to come and do tastings kind of like bourbon flights. So we model basically after bourbon bars in Kentucky where you can go when you sample different coffees from around the world. And we roast those ourselves.”
Fall is candle season, Roush said, and most of his candle buyers are women buying for their husbands.
The candles come in 4-ounce, 7-ounce and 10-ounce sizes for $10, $20 and $3o, respectively.
One of his crowd-pleasing fragrances is Peach & Tobacco Pipe.
“I get a lot of comments from people saying that it reminds them of their grandfather or grandpa, someone in the past that used to smoke a tobacco pipe,” Rouch said. “They like the sweet smell of it but they love the earthy smell that tobacco has as well.”
Hagley Craft Fair details
The Hagley Craft Fair will be open 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Saturday, Oct. 21 and 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Sunday, Oct. 22.
Admission, valid for both days, is $8 in advance and $12 at the door, but free for Hagley members and children 5 and younger.
As of Tuesday morning, rain is in the forecast for Saturday. The craft fair is a rain-or-shine event, and dozens of vendors are indoors at the Soda House. The tickets are good for both Saturday and Sunday, and ticketholders may go both or either day.
Admission also includes access to Hagley’s historic home and garden area.
Visitors to the Craft Fair are urged to bring both cash and credit cards because some vendors accept only one or the other. Many also accept cash apps such as Venmo.
Ticketholders should use the Hagley Library entrance off Route 100 at 298 Buck Road, Wilmington, Delaware, 19807. Easy in and out parking is available alongside the marketplace.
Betsy Price is a Wilmington freelance writer who has 40 years of experience.
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