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Yankee Candle® History

Glowing Strong

Yankee Candle began in 1969 when teenager Mike Kittredge made a candle with melted crayons – a Christmas gift for his mother – in his family home in South Hadley, Massachusetts. In those early days, family, friends and neighbors raved about Mike's candles and kept buying them as fast as he could make them – a phenomenon that continues to this day in a much expanded form!

Operating first out of his parent's home, then a mill building in Holyoke, Massachusetts, and later in nearby South Deerfield and Whately, Massachusetts, Mike's early hobby grew into the Yankee Candle Company, the nation's leading designer, manufacturer, wholesaler and retailer of premium scented candles.

Thirty years after those humble beginnings, Yankee Candle became a publicly traded company on the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE:YCC). It's a classic American success story – an American Dream – with a product the world has taken to hearth and home!

Historical Highlights:

  • 1969: Seventeen-year-old Mike Kittredge makes the first Yankee Candle.
  • 1971: Mike opens his first retail store and learns what customers want: scented candles for home fragrance; packaged for quality gift giving.
  • 1973: The young business moves from the Kittredge home to an old mill in Holyoke.
  • 1979: Yankee Candle has 30 employees, has doubled its factory space in Holyoke and begins distributing its products nationally.
  • 1983: Yankee Candle moves to South Deerfield and opens a factory and retail store, eventually becoming its Flagship Store.
  • 1984: GBI Marketing of Bernardston, Massachusetts, begins distributing Yankee® candles through fund-raising and charitable organizations.
  • 1986: Mike Kittredge is honored as Small Businessman of the Year from Massachusetts.
  • 1992: Our now famous Bavarian Christmas Village opens at our Flagship Store in South Deerfield. Today this store is one of the most popular tourist destinations in Massachusetts.
  • 1994: Manufacturing moves to a facility in nearby Whately.
  • 1997: Yankee Candle Wholesale Direct, our in-house sales and service department, is created to improve sales and service for our U.S.-based wholesale market.
  • 1998: We enter into a partnership with Forstmann Little & Co. of New York that lasts until 2003.
  • 1999: We open our own wholesale showrooms in Chicago and Los Angeles. Yankee Candle (Europe), Ltd., opens in Bristol, England, serving retailers and distributors throughout Europe and the Middle East; Yankee Candle is publicly trading on the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE:YCC).
  • 2000: We open two more wholesale showrooms in Atlanta and Dallas.
  • 2001: We Launch our Wholesale website: wholesale.yankeecandle.com.
  • 2004: Esscentual Brands Canada Corp. becomes our Canadian distributor.