Marley Candles Owner Keeps Late Wife's Dream Aglow

Part owner of Marley Candles, John Fixari speaks about the business, his late wife and the girls who put Marley Candles on the map.

Heading west on 187th street, you'll run into a place where time stood still. On some days, a hint of lilac floats in the summer air; other days, some have reported the scent of chestnuts roasting. Follow your nose to the scents' source, you'll find . 

Nestled in a building that more closely resembles an older home than a store, customers find the area's largest collection of American-made handdipped candles. Candlemaker Amy Dunham says her favorite scent always changes.

"Today it's 'Snowdrift' because it's unique" says Dunham. "When I tell people I'm a candlemaker and work at Marley, everyone says they love the candles."

While Dunham and Betsy Milligan dip tapered candles during a typical workday, an older man works near them, cutting wax.

John Fixari, 88, has carried on his late wife Alice's dream inside the walls of Marley Candles. Alice scooped up the business in 1979, without a second thought.

"We were living in Florida, she got a phone call from her girlfriend that Marley Candles was for sale. She told me, 'I'm buying Marley Candles.' Sure enough, she booked a flight to Chicago and off she went. She bought it! From that point on, she was the head of this business."  

Over the years, Fixari has stoked the business, also keeping it in the family; the couple's daughters now run the store. John speaks fondly of his daughters, Nancy Fixari and Kathy Chapleau.

"Look how nice a job these girls do. What do I know about this stuff."

But the dedicated businessman comes to work everyday. The WWII Navy pilot continues striving to light up lives—with all the credit due to Alice.

"She was the top dog," he said. "I give her credit for keeping this old art alive. We make candles the old-fashioned way. This is history, you bring the art to the people."


Want to know more about Marley Candles? , or visit their website. 

Sharon Maratos June 09, 2012 at 10:10 AM
Just have to share something with you good folks. Soon it will be my birthday and, like many others do, I start thinking of the years gone by and memories. Some of the very best memories for me would be the times my mother and I came to your store. My mother is gone now but those memories are vivid. She would get so excited and we would climb the stairs and we would check out every inch of your place. Many times we visited and stocked up on votives of every scent and enjoyed the latest hanging candles and such. Unfortunately, I can no longer experience the candles totally because I cannot burn them since being on oxygen. But perhaps I will buy some anyway because, after all, it is the scent that brings the memories.


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