Oxford business celebrating 50 years with internationally known incense

Marc Biales stands in front of the High Street Wild Berry store as the business marks 50 years in operation, most of that time in its present location. The early years saw him located in several other places within blocks of the current store. CONTRIBUTED/BOB RATTERMAN
Marc Biales stands in front of the High Street Wild Berry store as the business marks 50 years in operation, most of that time in its present location. The early years saw him located in several other places within blocks of the current store. CONTRIBUTED/BOB RATTERMAN

From humble beginnings to international attention, the Wild Berry is marking 50 years of business in Oxford this year.

The business has produced a variety of goods in its decades of existence and has since become well-known for the incense it makes and sells.

“We are known for wacky, esoteric stuff. We always look for things that are new, fun and delightful,” said owner Marc Biales. “The key to our success is interesting merchandise.”

Wild Berry opened in 1971 when Biales rented a small room in a house where the Festival of Sight and Sound was located, where a Buffalo Wild Wings location is now.

“It was a big room with a little room off of it. I made leather work there. I really made my money going to craft fairs. I was going to school part time after graduation (at Miami University) and doing that part time,” he said.

Meanwhile, his wife was making incense on a small scale in the shop.

After several years at that location, he moved to another space on the second floor over Horizon Records, where the Wild Berry stayed three years before moving to an East High Street location where a Starbucks location is now.

“I was doing more and more leather and carrying other people’s crafts. As we grew, we added items like posters, pipes and pastries. The guy who owned it threw us out on short notice, he said because we were selling pipes,” Biales said.

The business then moved into a trailer for a while but that did not have enough space for the growing business.

“By that time, we were selling a lot of jewelry,” he said.

When their present West High Street location became available with the departure of the Revco Drug Store, he quickly snapped it up and it has been a familiar location ever since.

He met someone at a trade show who suggested making the incense a little differently and doing it himself. That led to developing a system for producing it as well as selling it through other distributors. The package included a whole kit for those businesses, complete with displays and signs advertising it.

Making it for other people started in 1992 and it proved to be a hit at a Boutique Show the next year.

“Ever since then, it’s been steady growth. People buy from us now,” Biales said.

The incense part of the business moved to a store in the Westgate shopping Center on College Corner Pike but it grew rapidly and soon required more production space. That led to construction of the incense factory on College Corner Pike in 1996 and then to building and opening an incense store at the front of the property in 2019.

Wild Berry incense is now distributed around the world from Canada and Mexico to Europe, Iceland, Costa Rica, Japan and a host of islands.

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