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Atmosphere, Price and People: The Key to a Memorable Experience Hear from Misty & Dennis Akers, co-owners of The Candle Pour, about how they brought their vision to life and made a hands-on business successful in the time of COVID.

By Emily Washcovick

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

Courtesy of The Candle Pour

Behind the Review host and Yelp's Small Business Expert, Emily Washcovick, shares a look at this week's episode of the podcast.

Creating a truly unique and memorable experience is rare. It takes an exceptional amount of thought, time, business acumen, and maybe a little bit of luck. The Candle Pour, located in Tampa, Florida, has managed to strike the perfect balance. This week you'll hear from Misty and Dennis Akers, husband and wife co-owners, about their vision for the candle-making business, why it was so important for them to create a true experience (rather than a product), and how they've managed to take a hands-on experience and adapt in the days of COVID.

The Candle Pour is all about the atmosphere and giving people a place to create something - not only a product, but a memory of a fun activity. And that is exactly what this week's Yelp reviewer, Michelle M., experienced. Her review clearly shows that Misty and Dennis achieved their vision.

They've created a luxury space at an affordable price, and as we'll learn in the episode, their effective pricing is important. In any industry, if the price isn't right, finding success will be challenging. Pricing is essential, and it's important for both business owners and consumers. Michelle talks through how The Candle Pour's pricing played a role in her decision-making process, and you'll hear from the co-owners about how they arrived at the model they currently use.

Something else that's paramount to the success of this business - and why people like Michelle are compelled to head to Yelp to let the world know - is the staff. It's something we've heard before and we'll hear again in episodes to come. Choosing the right people is what makes or breaks a business. In Misty's own words, "it starts with the right people. I learned this very early, and I don't mean to sound harsh, but you hire slow and fire fast."

If you have a real vision, something you've dreamt about and then have been lucky enough to bring to life, you need to make sure the people who work for you honor that vision.

But how does a business that is built around an in-person, tactile experience survive COVID? Misty and Dennis were asking themselves the same thing when the pandemic hit. But instead of resigning to the fact that they weren't a COVID-friendly business, they innovated and came up with a solution that has found them even more success in some ways.

By the end of this episode, you'll learn:

  • The importance of the atmosphere - it's what people will first notice when they enter your business and can impact their entire experience.
  • The price needs to be right - finding the right price can be challenging, but it's one of the most important decisions you will make.
  • Hire smart - you can't do it all, so the people you hire should represent your values and your passion.
  • Think outside the box - COVID is impacting business owners everywhere - some harder than others - but where you can, try to think outside the box and innovate.

Listen to the episode below to hear directly from the husband and wife duo and Yelp reviewer Michelle, and subscribe to Behind the Review for more from new business owners and reviewers every Thursday.

Available on: Spotify, Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, Stitcher and Soundcloud

Emily Washcovick

Small Business Expert at Yelp

As Yelp’s Small Business Expert, Emily is meticulously focused on helping local business owners succeed and grow. Her expertise lies in customer engagement, reputation management, and all things digital marketing. Through speaking engagements and thought leadership, Emily shares industry insights that entrepreneurs in any business category can leverage for the growth and well-being of their businesses. She is also the host of Behind the Review, a podcast from Yelp and Entrepreneur Media, where each episode features conversations with a business owner and a reviewer about the story and lessons behind their interactions.

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