Because of the growth of her business, Amy Lassere Keplinger, owner of Amy’s Country Candles, has been recognized as the Louisiana as the Louisiana Economic Development (LED) 2002 Lantern Award Winner for District 3.
“I started out in my utility room. I was cutting hair all day and doing candles at night,” she recalls. “It ‘s so good how God has blessed me.
Keplinger, former owner of Amy’s Beauty Shop, said because of the demand for her business, she closed her shop and began working on her candle business full time.
“If you stick to it, it is amazing what you can accomplish,” the mother of two (daughter and son) – Sonny, 9, and T.C., 11 – said, “Successful people get what they deserve. They are successful with hard work and dedication.”
Keplinger presently has locations in Thibodaux, Houma, New Orleans and Baton Rouge. Because of their success, she is making plans to open a new store in Lafayette and to expand her worldwide business to include the Internet soon.
“We already ship worldwide,” she said. “We have people that order from all over the world, because everybody loves a good smell.”
The Thibodaux Chamber of Commerce recommended Keplinger for the recent state honor.
Kathy Terracina, executive director of the chamber, said, “Amy started her business as a small venture. Then she moved her business from her house and opened a warehouse and a store.
“Her employee-base has grown over the past three years,” Terracina said. “She has made tremendous economic growth in just three years.”
Terricina said Keplinger’s selection for the honor is important to the community.
“ This is the first time in about 10years that the Thibodaux Chamber’s nominee has won,” Terricina said. “In the early 90’s we nominated Cameco and they won.
LED, in cooperation with the Louisiana Board of Commerce and Industry are the co-presenters of the awards.The Louisiana Industrial Development Executives Association and BellSouth are the sponsors.
Keplinger will be among the recognized Tuesday at a luncheon at the Camelot Club in Baton Rouge and at a reception at the Governor’s Mansion.
Amy’s Country Candles will represent district 3, which includes six parishes in southern Louisiana.
“Amy Country Candles grew from three employees in a small utility room to a retail chain with seven locations and 30 employees,” said LED secretary Don Hutchinson in a press release announcing the business’s selection.“Amy participates in craft shows all year round, and she ships her candles all around the world. We are indeed proud to recognize Amy Keplinger, owner and president, as one of the outstanding manufactures in the state.”
Keplinger said that her family and employees have been supportive of her business. Her father, Rocky Lassere, delivers for the company while her mother, Clara Andras, works in the Thibodaux store. Mary Andrus, the district manager, helps to oversee the seven stores, and Karen Ledet, general manager for the company, oversees production at the warehouse.
“Without these good people, we would not be so successful, “ Keplinger, said. “God has just truly blessed me.”
Andras says she enjoys operating the Thibodaux store and working with the people.
“I like everything about the candles business,” she said. “The candles are awesome. The scents stay in the candles and it burns evenly.”
Andras said, “They are the best candles on earth. This is just a great team of people working together.”
The business, along with the seven other award-winning manufactures were chosen by the Louisiana Board of Commerce and Industry based on growth in number of employees, expansion of their facilities, involvement in the community and being in operation for at least three years.
By Eric Pellegrin