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Holiday 'buzz' in Sulphur Springs

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Mary Hobbs Warriner holds a cupcake-shaped bath balm made especially for kids at her new Sulphur Springs business, BeeHive Body Co. The local resident and military veteran makes homemade soaps and related products.
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Mary Hobbs Warriner stirs some colorful ingredients as she makes a new soap product in her Sulphur Springs business, BeeHive Body Co.
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It looks like a cupcake, but this is actually a fun-shaped bath balm for kids created by Mary Hobbs Warriner.
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Taking a bath has never been more fun for the youngsters who receive these dinosaur and Yetti bath balms created by Mary Hobbs Warriner and her BeeHive Body Co.

By DARREL RADFORD - dradford@thecouriertimes.com

For Mary Hobbs Warriner, necessity proved to be the mother of invention and the inspiration for a whole new career.

A veteran of the U.S. Air Force, Warriner remembered the day on a Utah base when she and some of her cohorts couldn’t get hydraulic fuel off of their skin.

“So I looked up on Pinterest (a social media website) how to make a bar of soap,” she said. “Well, I made too much because you don’t just make one bar of soap. You’re going to make 10. So I gave it away to a bunch of friends and they came back about six weeks later saying ‘hey, we want more soap.’ And from there, it grew.”

Approximately on Black Friday, her amazing soap journey came buzzing like a bee full circle. Scores of people came to purchase some of the many handmade products offered by Warriner’s Sulphur Springs-based business called “BeeHive Body Co.”

“I was blown away by my first weekend,” Warriner said of her shop, located at 104 E. Main St. in Sulphur Springs, across the street from the former bank building and the locally iconic Iron Kettle Restaurant.

A daughter of well-known New Castle educators Bob and Beth Hobbs, Warriner joked that her now-retired dad, who directed the area vocational school for many years, is now her biggest fan – and critic.

“When I moved home from Utah, my dad still used a popular name-brand soap,” she said. “I told him, ‘Dad, I love you, but friends don’t let friends use this. I said ‘I make soap for a living, you can’t do this to me. He’s actually now one of my best critics. I give him a soap to try and he won’t sugarcoat it. He tells me what he thinks.”

Warriner makes between 15 and 20 unique products in her shop. They include handmade sugar scrubs, soaps, as well as body and lip balms. Her customers range from bubbly 5-year-old girls fascinated by her colorful bath balm cupcakes to much older men and women seeking pain relief through her CBD oil salves and related items.

A 1998 graduate of Shenandoah High School, Warriner relates well to customers who rely on the CBD salves for pain relief. She, too, has fought a long battle with physical pain. During her military service in Utah, Warriner was severely injured after a four-car crash, suffering a back injury that ended her military career.

At one point, she was taking as many as 28 medications to cope with the pain.

Then, she met some people from a Utah company that sold CBD oil. Not only did the oil take away her pain, it bolstered her new career.

“I had tried probably 20 brands,” she said. “This company had two or three people sitting at an old card table with a money box at one trade show. I firmly believe God sat me by them that day.”

Now Warriner sells the Utah company’s products in her shop and hears from customers the difference they are making for them. She says the purity of this company’s CBD oil is 99.7 percent.

Customer satisfaction seems even higher than that.

“I will have people message me and say they’ve not been in pain since they started taking it,” she said.

Warriner explained that CBD oil was declared a legal product by the 2014 national Farm Bill as long as it contains a particular THC level.

“Ours is actually completely THC free,” she said.

There are times when Warriner said she feels like a more than a business owner because of the ways her clients share things with her, particularly where the CBD oil-based products are concerned.

“It’s a very intimate sale,” she explained. “People tend to talk with you about what’s going on in their lives. Sometimes you kind of feel like a psychiatrist because people tend to open up about their problems.”

She hopes to provide inspiration and counsel to them along with the quality products.

“Part of my healing process was learning there are other people like me,” she said. “I hope to inspire others. It (the pain battle) doesn’t have to define you. It can be part of you, just like my red hair and sarcastic humor, but it’s not going to dominate who I am.” 

The business name – “BeeHive Body Co. – pays homage to her days in Utah. The beehive is that state’s symbol and bees wax, harvested by Henry County beekeepers, is used in many of her products.

There is a growing holiday shopper buzz in the Sulphur Springs shop, thanks to take-and-make kits for kids, gift sets for men and women and a wide variety of soaps.

But while holiday shoppers come, Warriner is already preparing for the first big occasion in 2019.

“Soap takes a minimum of 30 days to cure,” she explained. “So next week, I will actually make my first batch of Valentine’s Day soap.”

Warriner will always look back on her military days with gratitude, however, even in spite of the accident, because it was there she met her true Valentine – Adam Warriner, who employed by American Axle & Manufacturing, Inc., now operating a plant in the New Castle facility formerly known as Grede.

“We met in Korea,” she said. “My husband has been supportive since Day 1 of this in all my craziness. I am one blessed girl.”

For years in his role as director of the New Castle Area Vocational School, Bob Hobbs and his staff would coordinate a “Career Day” in which eighth graders would meet with local professionals to discuss careers.

This was the furthest from Mary Warriner’s mind then. Looking back, she calls it an amazing transformation.

“He (her husband) was a machinist and I did sheet metal when we were in the military,” she reflected. “Nowhere in there does it translate to owning a soap company.”

One might say it was simply meant to “bee.”

BeeHive Body Co

Location: 104 E. Main St., Sulphur Springs

Phone: 765-591-3524

Hours: Noon to 7 p.m. Tuesday, Thursday, Friday and Saturday; 1-5 p.m. Sunday

Facebook: www.facebook.com/pg/beehivebodyco