WeHo candlemaker has new home

UPDATE: After being forced out of its longtime location on Harper Ave. Timothy Jay Fragrance Candles has found a new home at 7209 Santa Monica Boulevard.

A cold wind blew through Timothy Jay Sullivan’s candle shop in West Hollywood late last month.

The landlord he had considered a friend was suddenly demanding he move out by the end of December — his busiest month.

“My mouth dropped,” Jay said. “I had to beg to get another 30 days.”

Barring a miracle, Timothy Jay Fragrance Candles will close on Jan. 30. Sullivan is currently seeking a new location for his store but has had little luck.

“It’s taking some time because it’s almost Christmas and nobody really wants to work,” he said. “We make all these phone calls and we don’t hear back.”

It’s a sad chapter for the store that began 24 years ago in a bright moment of serendipity.

Sullivan, a New York City advertising executive who had recently become sober, finally decided he’d “had enough” and moved cross country to West Hollywood, where one of his sponsees was looking to make a candle for Christmas.

Instead of visiting little hobby shops for the supplies, Sullivan had a better idea — he called friends in New York who were with Lancôme to find out how they should do it. His friends sent him fragrances they thought he’d like, and Sullivan and his sponsee started making candles one at a time with a double boiler, passing them out to friends and acquaintances.

One candle ended up in a friend’s antique shop on La Cienega. A “wealthy, very famous” woman had bought something in the store, Sullivan recalls, but they had nothing to put it in — except a shopping bag containing Sullivan’s candle. The rest was history.

“She went crazy over it,” he said. “The next day her assistant called me and ordered 28 of them.”

Over the years, the candle shop has been a beacon for people in recovery from substance abuse.

“I knew some guys in the program with me who needed some work as well so I said, ‘Why don’t you come and help me make candles and I’ll pay you?’” Sullivan said.  “And that’s how this whole tradition began of well over 150 guys now who have worked here over the 24 years producing candles in a very safe and sound atmosphere.”

Sullivan first found the location of his shop, a former dry cleaners, on a walk with his dog. He removed all the tracks and machinery himself, and had always enjoyed a friendly relationship with his landlord. 

“I don’t have a lease because the owner was, I thought, a friend of mine who just let me stay and stay and stay for 24 years, and to serve notice on me this way was rather shocking, seeing that I held keys to all the properties and I even showed them to prospective renters when nobody was around.”

But Sullivan isn’t about to let the flame die out.

“I am so happy that I have ended up this fortunate,” he said. “I’m 81 now and I work six, seven days a week, which makes me happy, and I have a great product and a great reputation. What else would you need?”

For more information or to purchase a candle, visit https://timothyjaycandles.com/

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Observer
Observer
4 months ago

The UPDATE at the beginning of this article is the key. Timothy IS in a new location as stated. The rest of the article was published last month. Why they decided to do this is a mystery as is evidenced in the comments.

carleton cronin
5 months ago

We talk about the “unique character” of WEHO and this shop is one of many reasons our city has a unique character. His loss is ours, another chip from the special foundation of the city

Where has Unique Character Gone?
Where has Unique Character Gone?
5 months ago

West Hollywood HAD unique character before it became a lucrative vehicle for self promotion, funded by those dedicated to remaking and rebuilding the city when there was no need and becoming the petrie dish for special interests dedicated to destroying its foundation rather than charting a path of subtle evolution directed by knowledgable folks. City staff that no appreciation for the city or roots to the city were hired from afar at grossly exorbitant salaries and benefits. These folks may be knowledgeable in their particular lane but have no real relationship to West Hollywood and its holistic self. The city… Read more »

Steve Martin
Steve Martin
4 months ago

Maybe you should apply to be part of the citizens panel planning the City’s 40th anniversary.

Ham Shipey
Ham Shipey
4 months ago

a candle shop?

Mark Reese
Mark Reese
5 months ago

I wonder if Michael would consider carving a few kiosks floating or perimeter a’la French Market at his new AHFS building formerly occupied by Orchard. The candle store has a similar job-creation mission for the recovery community. Perhaps Lorcan or another Weho architect could provide an upscale scheme.

Last edited 5 months ago by Mark Reese
Grinch
Grinch
5 months ago
Reply to  Mark Reese

His need is NOW.

Mark Reese
Mark Reese
5 months ago
Reply to  Grinch

‘See that’s the thing’. My idea could be constructed in five days.

West
5 months ago

How can we help this guy weather the storm? SOS Chamber

RJH
RJH
5 months ago

It’s always amazes me that a landlord would rather take a chance finding a new tenant without any track record go through probably a year or more of vacancy and only get slightly more after factoring in the vacancy. Just think of how many vacant storefronts on Melrose and SMO there are already. Many vacant for well over 2-3 years.

C.R.
C.R.
5 months ago
Reply to  RJH

This is exactly why we need vacancy taxes on landlords leaving spaces sitting vacant like that, this is long overdue and needs to be stopped. Lower the price and rent it out already or pay up.

hifi5000
hifi5000
5 months ago

Sorry to hear about this long-time candle-maker going out of business at his current location.Looks like his landlord is looking for more rent money. Just wondering: is Monte Overstreet involved??

Liz
Liz
5 months ago

This is so very sad. 🙁

alex
alex
5 months ago

How Could A Story like this have no comments. People … a good person makes candles for 24 years and brings others with him through tough times and loves what he does. This is an incredible example of courage by Timothy Jay Sullivan .. he should be celebrated by the community … Thank You WeHoville and may this landlord start hearing from WeHo.

Grinch
Grinch
5 months ago
Reply to  alex

Perhaps an established business focused on interiors, home goods or even apparel could invite Timothy to join them in a featured pop up space giving him a retail home and bringing new customers to their place of business provided he can also find a production space nearby.

Let’s make this happen

Joseph M. Clapsaddle
5 months ago

Timothy Jay is a West Hollywood Icon. Personally and professionally, he is the epitome of creativity, for which our beloved City is renowned. I hope the West Hollywood Chamber of Commerce and the new city business development director will recognize the importance of small businesses to the fabric of our community and take action to find a hime for Mr. Jay and his incredibly unique candles.

Grinch
Grinch
5 months ago

That’s the spirit Timothy!

Your Grinch landlord will likely bring misery onto himself.

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