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Local candle company leads national contest

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CNY/NNY/S. Tier: Local candle company leads national contest
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A candle company in Madison County is leading a national contest for its unique product. The Bee Man Candle Company currently has the most votes in Martha Stewart's 'Made in America' contest, which runs through September 24th. Our Brad Vivacqua has the story.

CANASTOTA, N.Y. -- Brian Howell of Canastota learned about bee keeping and candle making at the age of 12. Now, more than 20 years later, he and his family specialize in making hand crafted beeswax and bayberry candles from a warehouse in the village.

It's known as the Bee Man Candle Company, which is currently the leading company in votes in the Martha Stewart Made in America contest. The contest, which celebrates the creativity of small business owners from across the country, has 100 finalists right now.

Online voting will last until September 24th, and the winner will receive $10,000 and be featured in Martha Stewart's Living Magazine.

Howell's unique candles are becoming more popular as the demand increases for natural products and non-scented candles. Howell hopes the contest will help propel the business to grow.

"If we can ultimately developing a brand, that leads to hundreds of jobs for the area, that would be amazing. If not, if it leads to fifteen jobs for the area, then that's amazing as well. So, that's kind of our goal and our look at it," said Brian Howell, Bee Man Candle Company founder.

The Bee Man Candle Company is the lone Central New York finalist in the contest. Right now, the company is in the lead with about 9,500 votes. On October 12th, Howell and his family will be opening up a store in the front of the warehouse on East North Canal Street in Canastota.

If you'd like to learn more about the company and place a vote, visit the Martha Stewart Made in America contest website at http://americanmade.marthastewart.com/profiles/brian-howell-1363.

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