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Lanesboro business makes scents


Fri, Nov 22nd, 2013
Posted in Lanesboro Features

Peter Bilkey, the owner of ESSENCE of Lanesboro. Photo by Barb Jeffers.

There are many wonderful small businesses in Fillmore County which add their own special touches to the area. One such business, located in Lanesboro, Minn., is ESSENCE of Lanesboro. The products that owner Peter Bilkey creates cannot be found anywhere else as he makes the products himself and in small batches.

The all natural body care products contain no artificial colors, synthetic fragrances, sulfates or parabens. If a customer prefers to have a scented product, they can choose from scents that Peter has created or create their own scent choosing from over 40 essential oils which come from more than 25 foreign countries. ESSENCE of Lanesboro has more than 9,700 possible combinations for products so a customer should have no problem finding a scent they love. A scent the customer makes can be as light or as strong as they wish. Patrons can bring their empty containers back to be re-filled or bring their own container they would like filled.

Some of the products found at ESSENCE of Lanesboro are lotions, facial cleansers, liquid soaps and shampoos, hair conditioners, bar soaps, facial masks, lip balms, massage oils, body balms, and roll-on perfumes. The roll-on perfumes are new to the shop and patrons seem to love them as they are easy to put in a purse or pack in a make-up bag.

Using fresh ingredients and having fresh products for customers is of utmost importance to Bilkey, which is why he makes his products in small batches. Bilkey explains that other products can sit in distributor warehouses for months and then on store shelves for who knows how long before purchased by a customer while his products are freshly made.

Some of the most popular items at ESSENCE of Lanesboro are the lip balms selling over 4,600 in 2012. Peter says “If I’m famous for anything right now, it’s my lip balms,” stating that customers have fallen in love with the chocolate lip balm as it is so luscious. Bilkey uses real Dove dark chocolate to make the chocolate lip balm Who doesn’t love chocolate?

The second most popular lip balm is the coffee lip balm made with the freshest local coffee from Pedal Pushers of Lanesboro. Some other examples of the many flavors of lip balm are orange geranium and chai spice.

Peter describes the lotions at ESSENCE of Lanesboro as “extremely rich” and there are five kinds to choose from ranging from ultra light cream up to extreme cream. The Mayo Clinic has been sending more and more patients to ESSENCE of Lanesboro, especially the cncology department, states Bilkey due to the fact that chemotherapy, and radiation dry out patients skin.

Peter likes his products to be multi-purpose when possible, which is why his liquid soaps are designed to be used as hand wash, body wash, and shampoo. The liquid soaps are also all 33 percent more concentrated than most other liquid soaps so a person does not need to use as much as with other products so they last longer as well.

Another popular product is the Double Lavender perfume splash which doubles as a mosquito repellent as mosquitoes do not like the scent of lavender. The scented bar soaps are scented strongly with 50 percent more essential oil than the average bar soap.

The products at ESSENCE of Lanesboro have become so popular that Bilkey does not feel the need to advertise as word of mouth and repeat customers keep him plenty busy. Even though the business has no website, there are a lot of mail orders as Bilkey states, “I have gotten hundreds and hundreds of phone orders from people who have run out of a product.” If the product was scented for the customer, Bilkey has the information written on the back of the label so he can re-make the product for them.

The newest scent creations at ESSENCE of Lanesboro are “Lanesboro Summer” and “Sweetheart,” which were introduced this year. Peter says he is very proud of “Lanesboro Summer” as it contains 11 different essential oils. Other popular scents are “Almond Blossom,” “Green Fig,” and “Lanesboro Pines” among many more which are preferred by customers.

Peter Bilkey grew up in Madison, Wis. and has lived many different places. After researching several towns and falling in love with Lanesboro, he decided to start his business there. He thought his schedule would be a fairly easy one but the popularity of his products have become so great that he is constantly busy trying keep up with demand. Bilkey’s future plans are to keep working hard and developing new products for the next 11 years until he plans to retire.

Stop in and find your scent today or pick up some scented or unscented products as holiday or birthday gifts for friends and family. Business hours vary depending on the time of year. As of November 1 the hours are Friday/Saturday 11 a.m. - 5 p.m. and Sunday 11 a.m. - 3 p.m. After Christmas the business closes until the first weekend in April each year. ESSENCE of Lanesboro is located at 100 Parkway Avenue South in Lanesboro. The phone number is (507) 467-2800. To view additional photos of ESSENCE of Lanesboro go to the Fillmore County Journal’s Facebook page at www.facebook.fillmorecountyjournal.

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