Connie Rushing makes no apologies for being a bath snob. That should be obvious because it’s the name of the business she just opened in Hope Mills with her mother, Mary Thompson, and her sister, Tammie Melvin Carlile. Bath Snob specializes in homemade candles and bath products. It is located in a former orthodontist’s office in the Hope Mills Plaza Shopping Center.
Long before Rushing had an interest in making soap and other bath products, she said she was picky when it came to bath and body products. One day, her husband went to purchase her a gift and made the mistake of getting a standard bubble bath product from a chain pharmacy.
“He knows I love bubble baths,’’ she said. “That’s like my zen moment. That’s the moment I can be by myself. Everyone knows, don’t disturb mommy, it’s bubble bath time.’’
When she saw what her husband had purchased, she was less than pleased and made it known. “He was like, ‘You are such a snob,’” she said of her husband. “So when we were coming here to start a bath and body company and (thought) what do we name it, he said, ‘you’ve got to name it Bath Snob because that is what you are.’’’
Rushing and her mother and sister didn’t decide to open the store on a whim. Their mother, a native of Elizabethtown, decided to retire in Hope Mills. That led to Rushing moving here from California and her sister relocating from Virginia.
Both sisters had operated their own bed and bath businesses before moving to Hope Mills.
The sisters decided to join forces with their mother and start one here.
“We did a couple of fairs to test what kind of products people like out here,’’ Rushing said.
Last November, they opened a kiosk at Cross Creek Mall to do more test marketing. They continued there through January, where they developed a good following for their products.
Three weeks ago they held a soft opening of the new business in Hope Mills, then did the grand opening the second weekend in May.
The new business offers two basic product lines.
One is candles. In addition to traditional candles, the store also sells something called scoopables, which are a softer wax you can put into a warmer to release the scent. The scoopables come in a Mason jar.
They also sell cookie tarts. They look like cookies, but they’re actually pieces of scented wax that can be broken up and put into a warmer.
Bath Snob also offers what are called drink candles, like the martini, as well as banana pudding and pie candles.
The rear part of the business contains the bath and body line. “That’s where we have our lotions, our soaps, sugar scrubs and bath bombs,’’ Rushing said.
Rushing stressed that everything in the shop is made on-site. Special orders can be made, too. She recently had a customer who needed a soap with a higher olive oil base. Rushing let her try samples she had already made of an 80% and a 50% olive oil.
“I said if that doesn’t work out, I’ll go 100 percent,’’ Rushing said.
She also has customers who are allergic to things like coconut oil and shea butter. “That’s the good thing about having (the making process) in shop,’’ Rushing said. “You can cater to what they need. It’s going to make you make a better product for that customer base that needs that type of thing. They can’t get that at the regular bath and body shop.’’
But it doesn’t stop there, and part of that is because of the unique equipment already installed in the business when the sisters and their mother took the location over.
The orthodontist who previously occupied the space left a double sink area where the dental office chairs were located. The chairs have been removed, but the sink remains so that customers can sample various products on the premises.
The business is also set up to allow time to take trial runs.
They have an area where visitors can sit down, relax, get on the phone or use Wi-Fi while those shopping can take time to try out products. “We are so confident once you try the product, use that body scrub, use that lotion, use that soap and see how it does for your skin, you’re going to walk out with the product,’’ Rushing said.
The business is open Tuesday through Friday from 10 a.m. until 7 p.m. and on Saturday from 10 a.m. until 8 p.m. To learn more, visit the Facebook page at Bath Snob, or the website, www.bathsnob.com.
Photo: Left to right: Hope Mills Chamber of Commerce President Jan Davis Spell; Bath Snob owners Tammie Melvin Carlile, Mary Thompson and Connie Rushing; Hope Mills Mayor Jackie Warner; and Hope Mills Commissioner Pat Edwards.