Cork and Candles Bringing Candle Making Experience to University City

Cork & Candles, a BYOB candle-making experience that invites guests to create, drink, and connect while hand-pouring custom candles, is set to enrich the retail landscape of the Shop Penn Retail District with its unique blend of sensory delights. The addition of Cork & Candles further enhances the Shop Penn district's reputation as a premier shopping and dining destination for the Penn community, surrounding neighborhoods, and beyond.

"We are delighted to welcome Cork & Candles to the Shop Penn Retail District family," said Ed Datz, Penn’s Executive Director of Real Estate. "Their commitment to providing an exceptional experience aligns perfectly with our vision for the district. We believe that Cork & Candles will not only enhance our diverse retail offerings but also provide a warm and inviting atmosphere for both locals and visitors to enjoy."

At Cork & Candles, guests can gather with friends and explore a scent library stocked with over 60 unique fragrances, creating a custom blend to craft a handmade candle that is truly one-of-a-kind. Guests can also take part in novelty candle classes that rotate monthly. During these classes, guests make unique novelty candles such as a cereal bowl candle or a margarita candle. Cork & Candles prides itself on supporting local foundations. In the past, Cork & Candles has partnered with charitable organizations like CHOP and Alex’s Lemonade to raise awareness and funds to further their respective missions. In addition to classes and candle-making experiences, guests can shop a retail section and purchase candles created in-store featuring some of the most popular scent blends. While taking part in the candle-making activities, guests are invited to BYOB (wine or beer) and indulge while enjoying a hands-on and creative experience! 

"We are excited to join the vibrant community of businesses in the Shop Penn Retail District," said David Straub, Co-Founder and CEO. "Our mission at Cork & Candles is to create a space where friends gather and have the opportunity to build connections while partaking in a creative experience. We believe everyone is creative and we love helping people tap into that creative side during their time with us. We look forward to becoming an integral member of this dynamic district and contributing to its continued activity."

The Cork & Candles Shop Penn location will open at 3421 Walnut Street later this summer. Other locations include King of Prussia, which opened Spring 2022, and Center City, which opened Summer 2023. The company offers franchise opportunities ( with one franchise location currently in development that is set to open in Ardmore, PA in the Fall of 2024. 

MSC Retail represented the University of Pennsylvania in the transaction.

About Cork & Candles 
Cork & Candles, a family-owned small business, was born out of a passion for handcrafting quality products with a story three generations in the making. In the 1960s, Dave Straub grew up and learned the arts of painting, woodworking, and candle making from his father, Ken.  Dave inherited a beautiful collection of artwork, along with impactful lessons and memories that shaped the parent he would become, eventually naming his son Kenny after his own late father. The father-son duo opened Cork & Candles with a dream of building an inviting space that would bring friends and communities together while spreading their love of handcrafting personal creations. To keep up with everything Cork & Candles, visit

About SHOP PENN Retail District
Penn’s retail district offers an inspired, contemporary shopping and dining experience, open to all. Spanning ten city blocks from 30th to 40th Streets and across Spruce, Walnut, and Chestnut Streets, the district features more than 65 curated shopping, dining, and entertainment outlets immersed in the region’s most beautiful and historic university campus. The diverse collection of retail offerings—including national brands and independent shops—provides the highest quality options at every price point for the Penn community, surrounding neighborhoods, and beyond. Visit the SHOP PENN website for a full listing of retailers.