Scent shop opens in old Mead Bank
Site of Waupaca’s most famous unsolved murder
By James Card
The site of Waupaca’s most famous unsolved murder is now home to a cozy candle shop and gift store.
Andrew Colden and his fiancée Jennifer Angsten opened Wanderlust Scents in the old Mead Bank building at 215 W. Jefferson St.
On Oct. 8, 1882, the private banker H. C. Mead was robbed and killed in this small Greek Revival Style building.
It is one of few surviving wooden structures in the city and it is a historical landmark.
The murder of Mead remains unsolved.
“It’s always been a dream to open a shop here,” said Colden. “This building is amazing and it just fits us perfectly. And I’m a history buff.”
The previous tenant used the building as a private office and Colden happened to be driving by when it came up for rent. Within 30 minutes he signed a lease with the owner Harold Stiebs.
Colden’s interest in scents started when he was a boy. His grandmother lost her sense of smell so he would interpret smells and describe them to her.
He started experimenting with fragrances in 2009 and after a few years, thought he could turn his hobby into a side business.
Reaching back to his boyhood, Colden recalled family vacations to California, Florida and Hawaii where he could still remember the smell the flowers of the lei that are given to visitors.
“I started making scents from the places I have been,” said Colden. “The sense of smell – you always remember it.”
In 2015 he started selling on eBay and later other online outlets (wanderlustscents.com) after a rebranding effort in 2017.
He has 50 different retailers in 20 states and two foreign countries that carry his products.
He has 24 destination scents and the labels on the candle tells a story of what inspired the scent, the geographic coordinates of the location, a date that that has a historical or sentimental connection and a passport stamp.
Candles are the specialty but there are perfumes, sprays, diffusers, and locally produced art and craft items. The locales range from Baileys Harbor in Door County to Barcelona, Spain.
Besides capturing the scent of far-flung destinations, he is creating a Lambeau Field candle that has hints of grass stains, tailgate embers, pigskin leather and ale. Also coming soon is the hometown collection that will feature scents of the Chain O’ Lakes, historic Rural, Waupaca and Hartman Creek.
He is also going to make a murder-mystery candle as a nod to the history of the Mead Bank. The scent will be a surprise, he said, and it will be adorned with a card that tells the story of the murder and it will be marked with a bloody handprint which was a real-life clue found at the scene of the crime.
Colden is the general manager at De-lish-us, Waupaca’s long-time maker of snack foods, and Angsten also works there as an office manager. She will reduce her hours there to work at Wanderlust while Colden will continue to work at De-lish-us full time.