A new candle shop opened up in Downtown Madison last week, owned and operated by Talia Waller, a Morgan County Middle School teacher with an entrepreneurial spirit.

Waller founded Catherine Ann’s Candles, which provides safe and all-natural candle products, after she learned about the harmful chemicals often used by the larger commercial candle industry. The name is in memory of her two grandmothers. Catherine is her maternal grandmother and Ann is her paternal grandmother.

“I wanted to create a brand that would honor them,” said Waller, who prides herself on crafting unique products that safe and made from all-natural resources.

“I decided to get into candle-making when I began researching several harmful effects of candles that are made by several larger candle companies. I felt that it was important for people to be able to enjoy candles and not have to worry about ingesting harmful chemicals,” said Waller in February as she prepared to open her shop downtown.

Waller’s first passion is education and she remains committed to teaching English Language Arts to her middle-school students as she balances running her own business. She grew up in Morgan County and was mentored through the Morgan County Boys & Girls Club, crediting the club with inspiring her vision for success. As a student volunteer at the club, Waller got her first taste of teaching by helping younger students with their homework after school. She decided to pursue teaching as a career in college. After earning her degree, she returned to her hometown to put her education in action. She’s currently in her fifth year at Morgan County Middle School. She’s hoping to invest in the lives of Morgan County’s middle school students the way the local community invested in her while growing up.

“Since I grew up in Morgan County and attended the school system here, I always had the desire to come back to teach in the very community that helped shape and mold me into the person that I am today,” said Waller.

Waller credits the Boys & Girls Club for introducing her to her life’s passion.

“Being involved at the Boys & Girls Club definitely allowed me the opportunity to explore my passion which was teaching and helping younger kids, and I was able to develop leadership skills,” said Waller.

Now Waller has honed those leadership skills instilled within her to start her very own business.

Waller celebrated her shop’s grand opening with family and friends at ribbon cutting on Wednesday, April 7. Catherine Ann’s Candles is located at 206 West Washington Street in Madison. To learn more about Waller’s new downtown shop, visit catherineannscandle.com.

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