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Marysville teen's candle business still hot

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High school student, cross-country and swim team member and jet-setting businessman: All describe Marysville resident Hart Main, who turned a joke into a successful enterprise.

This weekend, the 15-year-old Marysville High School sophomore is traveling to California and St. Louis in the name of business. His latest national appearance was on "The Jeff Probst Show," where he talked about ManCans, a company that makes candles with "manly" scents.

"The whole thing started as a joke," Main said. "My sister was doing a fundraiser selling Yankee Candles and I was joking with her about the girly scents."

The first three ManCans scents were Grass, Campfire and New Mint. Newer scents include Grandpa's Pipe and Santa's Beard.

Main is getting familiar with making TV appearances.

"It was fun. I've done a couple," he said. "This one was a little more relaxed."

He also appeared on a Nickolodeon game show called "Figure It Out."

"When George Lopez did a late-night talk show on TBS, I did that. That was the first large TV show I had been on, so I was pretty nervous," he recalled.

ManCans, started as a family experiment at the kitchen table 18 months ago, is now a booming business.

"In the past 18 months, we've sold 34,000 candles," Main said. "We're selling about 1,750 a month now."

He said things are going so well that ManCans is introducing a new product line called Smoke House Candles, featuring pipe tobacco scents.

ManCans and Smoke House Candles are about more than business, Main said. ManCans are made from soup cans. The Mains buy soup, donate it to soup kitchens all over Ohio and then collect the empty cans, which are used as molds for the candles.

The company will donate $1 from every Smoke House Candles product sold to National Church Residences.

This weekend, Main participated in a product show on Saturday in California, where he is scheduled to speak Sunday, Sept. 23, at a youth entrepreneurship conference. He will speak at the another youth entrepreneurship conference in October in Charlotte, N.C..

He said his friends think his speaking engagements are "pretty cool" and his teachers seem pretty understanding when Main has to miss class for a business engagement.

"They see I'm getting real-life experience," he said.

His advice to other kids who might think they have an idea for a new product is to go for it.

"If you have people telling you it's a good idea, you should follow through because you never know what's going to come from it," Main said.

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