Apothecary opens amid ‘unparalleled’ year of small business applications

Credit: Journal News

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Of the Witches Cauldron Apothecary open in Fairfield

Credit: Journal News

A new business in Fairfield was manifested by its owner after she was laid off early on during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Sally Hathaway took what started out as “making fun stuff at home” with her youngest daughter ― like body soaps and candles ― turned it into an online Etsy business called Of The Witches Cauldron. And then a brick-and-motor shop when space at 4952 Winton Road opened up on Oct. 1. It was something she “always wanted” because she “wanted to see people, talk to people, not just be online.”

“That first year (online), I couldn’t keep up with the gift baskets and the candles,” said the former information technology project manager, who was like one of the millions of people in the country laid off early on in the pandemic. “When this space became available and I was still looking for a job, I thought, ‘Okay, let’s go for it.’”

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Sally Hathaway has opened Of the Witches Cauldron Apothecary on Winton Road in Fairfield. Hathaway makes natural center candles, soaps and bath salts and has many other locally sourced items from other people. NICK GRAHAM / STAFF

Credit: Nick Graham

Sally Hathaway has opened Of the Witches Cauldron Apothecary on Winton Road in Fairfield. Hathaway makes natural center candles, soaps and bath salts and has many other locally sourced items from other people. NICK GRAHAM / STAFF

Credit: Nick Graham

caption arrowCaption
Sally Hathaway has opened Of the Witches Cauldron Apothecary on Winton Road in Fairfield. Hathaway makes natural center candles, soaps and bath salts and has many other locally sourced items from other people. NICK GRAHAM / STAFF

Credit: Nick Graham

Credit: Nick Graham

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A record number of applications were filed to form businesses across the nation, according to an analysis of Census data by Economic Innovation Group. The 1.4 million were the most through the third quarter of any year, EIG reported. Entrepreneurial interests appeared to grow in recent years, according to EIG, and at this point peaking in 2021 in what’s been called an “unparalleled year.”

Ohio Secretary of State Frank LaRose said in November, Ohio had back-to-back record-breaking years in new business filings. Final 2021 numbers are being finalized, but there were more than 181,500 new businesses started last year. There were more than 171,000 in 2020.

“With great resolve, Ohioans have stood in the face of unpredictable headwinds and sent a loud and clear message to the nation ― I want to do business in Ohio,” LaRose said.

Fairfield Economic Development Manager Nathaniel Kaelin said the survival of small businesses survival “has been a major focus during the pandemic. For instance, City Council carved out $400,000 in federal CARES Act funds to provide $5,000 to $10,000 grants to small businesses.”

Hathaway is now one of more than 1,500 businesses across Fairfield, most of which are small businesses.

“Sally has done a great job curating the shop, which offers a good diversity of products,” said Kaelin. “Small businesses make a city unique and ensure that dollars are recirculated in the local community. E-commerce offers convenience but brick-and-mortar retail will always retain appeal because people enjoy the experience of shopping and finding the perfect item.”

Of The Witches Cauldron Apothecary, a name thought of by her daughter, offers hand-made, eco-friendly, upcycled or recycled, and all-natural or organic products primarily produced in Ohio, a primary focus of Hathaway’s business model. She said around 80 percent of her 30 or so suppliers are Ohio small businesses, and a handful are from Butler County, another important part of her business model.

The shop is not far from an old-fashioned general store but exclusively for environmentally friendly products.

“I’m trying to increase the availability of those kinds of products,” said Hathaway, a mother of four. “It’s just a nice little place to buy gifts. You know, support local, but also it’s a gift you can feel good about giving.”

Eventually, Hathaway said she’d like to expand on the apothecary aspect of the business, like adding custom tea blends and unique herb combinations. Currently, there’s a limited selection. But for now, she’s focused on keeping up with the demand on candles, her top seller.


HOW TO CONTACT

Of The Witches Cauldron Apothecary is opened from noon to 6 p.m. on Monday and Wednesday, noon to 7 p.m. on Friday, 12:30 p.m. to 4 p.m. on Saturday, and noon to 3 p.m. on Sunday. The store is closed on Tuesday and Thursday.

For more information, visit www.ofthewitchescauldron.com or call 513-883-2021.

ONLINE EXCLUSIVE

Visit Journal-News.com for exclusive photos inside Of The Witches Cauldron Apothecary and a video of how owner Sally Hathaway makes her best-selling candles.

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