Eye on Business: Chautauqua Soap Co.

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The windowfront of the Chautauqua Soap Co.
The windowfront of the Chautauqua Soap Co.

As we navigate our way through the reopening stages of the pandemic our local small business community has had to dizzyingly adjust their operations to comply with countless regulations for reopening store fronts, restaurants, and professional services. Now, as old friends reopen their doors, a new door to an aromatic haven will be open in our community.

Grand Opening

Chautauqua Soap Co. recently celebrated its grand opening weekend with a new storefront located at 14 E. 3rd St. in Jamestown, NY. New owner Audrey Ralston is anxious to get started as her business opens during a challenging time for all business owners.

“I started in the beginning of March right after everything closed down. That’s when I purchased everything. A week later the economy shut down. So I had a lot of time to invest in this,” Ms. Ralston stated.

“I’m really excited about it. So much time has gone into this. I’m down here every day,” she added.

Rejuvenating a Familiar Name

After purchasing the company from a previous owner, Ms. Ralston is incredibly excited to breathe new life into this project. She offers a slew of different all-natural, all-organic products at her location and plans on expanding the variety going forward.

“Candles, chapstick, salt scrubs, body butters, and I’ll continue to add things as I go. There are all different kinds of scents. All the soaps are made with all-natural organic ingredients and essential oils. It is all great stuff,” proclaimed Ms. Ralston.

The soap bars are works of art as Ralston explained. “It is very exciting. It is like an art project. They all look pretty. The tops have flowers and other designs. Different colors different designs. Even soaps that are shaped like bees.”

She makes the bars of soap right in the back corner of her shop on E. 3 rd St. in Jamestown. “I make everything right here. I’ve got a curing room in the back where once everything is made it all goes back in to cure. There’s about a thousand more bars in the back curing,” Ralston said. Surprisingly, she explained how the soap takes six weeks to fully complete from start to finish.

The pleasant essence of being in a room where the soap is being created is a relief for your senses. “Every time I have the doors open, you can smell it all downtown. I have people sticking their heads in telling me that they can smell it all the way down by the Reg Lenna. It’s pretty cool,” the proud proprietor stated.

Opening During a Pandemic

A fresh new experience with her company is a brave undertaking during these difficult times, but Ralston is making the best of the situation. She cheerfully added, “Especially during this pandemic, everyone is really paying attention to things like washing your hands a lot more. You can’t have enough soap.”

She has been coming into work every day since March as she has slowly built her way up to opening her first store front. Somedays she is so enthralled by her work the hours tick by until she finally realizes that she’s been at it for 17 hours. “It’s fun. I love it. I am excited and I love coming to work every day,” Ralston beamed.

Outgrowing a few other minor locations recently she finally landed on her new E. 3 rd St. location in Jamestown. With a sweet tang in the air Ralston discussed how her products have been shipped out to seven different states so far and how word has been spread so rapidly. “It is very cool; the momentum that it’s already gained. People from far away are ordering products,” she said.

Pride in Community

With a great aura of calmness in her smile she recounted how excellent the local community is with supporting their local businesses. “Jamestown is huge about supporting local business; a small community keeping the money here as much as possible. I’m really excited to be a part of that small community,” explained Ms. Ralston.
As some new business owners are wary about opening during these confusing times, Audrey Ralston is gracefully taking the challenge head on at Chautauqua Soap Co. as she opens up its first store front location. “Hopefully it’s something good that’s happening to the town right now, other than the pandemic. Hopefully it’s something positive,” she added.

As sweet aromas float throughout the grid of streets in downtown Jamestown, you can be certain that they originated at Chautauqua Soap Co. We congratulate Audrey Ralston on the rejuvenation of Chautauqua Soap Co. and look forward to seeing another local business flourish in downtown Jamestown.

Ms. Ralston will have an Etsy page and a website for online orders as well as social media accounts on Facebook and Instagram. For ordering or any questions about her company, you can phone her as well at 716-338-5134.