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Monastery Scents upgrades to new home

Monastery Scents upgrades to new home - (05-07-2018)

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PHOTO: Monastery Scents is enjoying its new production and retail location in the renovated Apple House at the Benedictine Sisters’ Clyde, Mo., monastery. Photo credit: Angel Clemmons-Grove

Benedictine Sister Cathleen Marie Timberlake, OSB has found a new home for her business.

When she made her first bars of soap almost two decades ago, it involved a complex effort of preparing the soap in a basement room of the monastery, curing the bars on the second floor then moving up to a third floor room to package and store them. In time, the congregation converted an old ice house into a shop of sorts.

The lower level had to be raised to match the rest of the floor, the outer perimeter housed a plethora of activities such as mixing, cutting, business affairs and merchandise display, and the middle area served as the hub for sorting, packaging and mailing. All in all, it was a place no space was wasted and much of it serving dual and even triple purposes. Today, Monastery Scents produces about 20,000 bars of soap every year, along with a variety of other bath products like lotions, soap scrubs and lip balms sold online and in various retail stores around the region.

“We simply outgrew the production space,” Sister Cathleen Marie said, “which is always a good problem to have.”

So after examining other buildings around the monastery property, the Sisters settled on the Apple House as the new home for Monastery Scents. Constructed in 1927, it was once used to sell produce and apple cider harvested from the monastery orchard. Lay employees worked for several months to renovate the space, which opened for business in the spring. The new soap shop is 3000 square feet - offering 25 percent more space than the previous location.

Monastery Scents production space now offers separate areas for mixing, cutting, wrapping and package soap. Storage areas provide space for products used to make the soap, and there’s even a retail area for on-site sales.

Sister Cathleen Marie and Wanda Goodspeed, a lay employee in the soap shop, hosted an Open House in May to showcase the new shop.

“Oh, it was wonderful,” Sister Cathleen Marie said. “We had so many people stop in and check out the new location. It was nice to celebrate with customers and friends and those just stopping in to learn about the soap-making process. When I am in there I still marvel as if a dream has come true. We finally have the room to continue to grow! It’s such a beautiful and blessed space. This building housed integral works for our community, and I hope to follow in those footsteps.”

Shop Monastery Scents online at www.MonasteryScents.com or www.MonasteryCreations.com for other BSPA products.