MILFORD — As summer comes to a close, Alene Candles is ramping up its production in preparation for the holiday season.
Hundreds of extra workers have been hired to help with the influx of orders, and the company is eager to make the most of the 93 days remaining until Christmas.
“This week we have up to 11 production lines running and about 425 employees helping out,” said Evan Fish, plant manager at Alene Candles, 51 Scarborough Lane.
Alene Candles typically employs 200 workers year-round, but takes on additional hires during the fourth quarter of the year.
“We have grown a lot. We make seven times more candles now than when we bought the business in 2008,” said Rod Harl, president of Alene Candles. “We have reinvented the company considerably.”
Alene Candles designs and produces candles for dozens of clients, including well-known retailers such as White Barn and Bath and Body Works, as well as high-end retailers in the New York cosmetics industry. Its headquarters includes a 180,000-square-feet facility in Milford, but the company also has a factory in Ohio and offices in New York.
Last week, thousands of candles were poured, perfected, packed and shipped from the Milford site.
“We have some customers with a very rapid supply chain. We can get their orders and have them in the stores three weeks later,” Harl said.
Large silos are stationed outside of the Milford plant, which hold massive amounts of molten wax. The wax is combined with fragrances and color additives in the mezzanine level of the facility, which is mixed inside of 30 dairy tanks before traveling to the lower level production floor.
Once on the main level, machines place the wicks into vessels where they are secured in typical glass candle containers. The wax is then poured into the containers before the product solidifies and travels down the manufacturing line where workers align the tips of the wicks, clean the outside of the containers and package the candles into boxes.
They are then placed onto pallets and ready for shipment, according to Harl.
Vanilla, pumpkin, spice and pine-based fragrances are popular during this time of year, according to workers.
“We are doing such high volume right now,” Harl said. “We have this systemized to a science.”
With the unemployment rate so low in New Hampshire, Harl acknowledges that it can sometimes be difficult to find extra seasonal work. However, he says several of his workers have been with the company longer than him. Most employees reside in southern New Hampshire or northern Massachusetts.
Aside from the manufacturing line, Alene Candles also has a research and development lab, analytical lab and burn lab where experiments are conducted on different scents, materials are tested and workers ensure that the custom products are burning reliably, safely and consistently, Harl said.
Alene Candles was founded in 1995, and up to 1 billion candles have been distributed since its inception.
“We make good quality products that sell well, and we are always looking for new and interesting ideas,” he said.
About two-thirds of the company’s sales will be completed during the second half of this year, with about 40 percent of its overall production taking place in the fourth quarter, according to Harl. By February, the company will be back to its typical 200-person workforce.
Alene Candles is also working to expand its community involvement. It recently launched a new program to honor Milford community leaders and provide additional resources to area nonprofits. Alene’s Milford Luminaries program will recognize four outstanding individuals for their contributions to the Milford community through their jobs or volunteer work. As part of the program, the company will contribute $4,000 to local nonprofits.