Business of the Year: Alene Candles
Matthew j. mowry
Since President and CEO Rod Harl and Managing Partner Ted Goldberg bought Alene Candles in 2008 from the Amato family, they have dramatically grown the private-label candle manufacturer, adding nearly 300,000 square feet to its facilities in NH and building two facilities in Ohio. Alene Candles can now produce more than one million candles daily across the company and made more than 100 million candles last year.
When the partners bought the company, Alene Candles had 75 employees but now boasts a workforce of 462 with 213 employees in NH. Sales in the first 10 years of Harl & Goldberg’s ownership increased seven-fold and despite the pandemic, sales have continued to grow more than 80% in the last five years.
Innovation has spurred its success. Alene Candles has more than 40 scientists and engineers who have developed new detection methods to identify flaws in raw materials and work with suppliers to correct them. Alene earned a patent for a new way to mass produce marbled candles.
“We think of ourselves as a manufacturing services provider who happens to make candles,” Harl says. “It involves making candles, but it may also involve fulfillment, design and technical innovation to meet their needs.”
This is a company that steps up in times of crisis. When the pandemic hit, Alene Candles quickly pivoted and produced more than 60,000 face shields over five weeks for first responders. In December 2021, when a tornado destroyed homes and a competing candle production facility in Kentucky, employees and the company raised $40,000 to help tornado victims.
Alene Candles finds various ways to support its community. Through “Alene Gives Back,” the company pays employees up to eight hours annually to volunteer in the community, including helping at the NH Food Bank or doing community cleanup projects. Over the years, Alene Candles has recognized community members who have made significant contributions to Milford through its Milford Luminaries program, donating $1,000 to a charity of their choice.
For the past eight years, Alene Candles has partnered with the Souhegan Valley Boys and Girls Club to award an annual scholarship to a Milford High School graduate who plans to study science. It is one of three companies that sponsor the Manufacturing Exploration and Externship Program with Milford High School’s Applied Technology Center.
“Our secret sauce is being good to people and doing the right stuff,” Harl says.