Chesapeake Bay Candle, known for scented and textured candles that sell for $9.99 at Kohl’s and Target, has set up three factories in Asia over the past 16 years. But when it came to building a plant in the U.S. to expand its customer base and better serve existing clients, the founders were unprepared for the regulatory hurdles.
The new facility was supposed to be up and running last fall, but now isn’t expected to open until the end of June. Expensive upgrades required to meet local building codes have dented margins and forced the company to rejigger its supply chain to backup deliveries with products from Asia.
But don’t feel too sorry for them, this I had not known:
Candles are one industry in which U.S. producers dominate their home market. The National Candle Association estimates the U.S. market is about $2 billion, with imports accounting for 20% or less of that. Imports have been low since 2004, when “the anti-dumping duties came into play,” said the association’s president, Frederic Contino. That’s when duties for Chinese-made candles entering the U.S. more than doubled to the current 108.3%.