Story By Hannah Lester / Photos By Robert Noles
One of Auburn’s newest businesses smells great. That’s because Buff City Soaps makes its own products — soaps, bath washes, scrubs and more.
The new store at 312 W. Magnolia Ave. opened right before the Iron Bowl, Thanksgiving and Black Friday — a.k.a, a busy weekend.
Of course, then comes the Christmas season and then Valentine’s day. So it’s been a busy season for this baby business.
“We had a lot of sales for Christmas,” said Kathryn Crocker, store manager of the Auburn location. “Then we did our VIP opening, it was really good. We kind of got our name out there. We’ve worked on our social media to get our name out there as well, to get even more business.”
The business held an official ribbon cutting in January with the Auburn Chamber of Commerce and Auburn Mayor Ron Anders.
Crocker moved here in November, when the store opened, but her fiancé grew up in Auburn.
“It’s just been a really nice community to be a part of,” she said. “I’ve really enjoyed being here.”
But, what exactly is Buff City?
“Frustrated by commercial soaps’ harsh chemicals, detergents and animal fats, we set out to create a better way,” said Buff City’s website. “Buff City Soap — delightfully scented plant-based soaps, handmade daily, in each of our local Soap Makeries. We’re on a mission to create handmade products that are free of harsh ingredients and full of nourishing plant based goodness.
“We take tremendous pride in handcrafting each and every bar of soap in our Soap Makery. Each one is truly unique. 1 of 1. Just like you.”
Crocker said that all products are “handmade daily” in store. And if there’s something you’d like, they can personalize it.
“When you come in the store, you’ll see us making our body soap or our bath bombs,” she said.
However, it is actually the laundry soap that is the top-selling product.
Although there are lots of locations, Crocker said the owner knew he wanted one in Auburn.
“Rick, the owner, has always wanted to expand his stores all over South Alabama, and he thought that Auburn would be a great location because of all of the students, all of the families and he just really wanted to be here in Auburn. And it’s just been really nice.”
This isn’t the owner’s first location in a college town — he also owns one at Clemson.
While the store is mostly popular with students during the week — it is very close to campus — many families come in on weekends.
There is an Auburn personalized line of products on the way, too, Crocker said. One already exists, a soap — Tiger Stripe.
“I absolutely love Buff City; I fell in love with it the first day I started working,” she said. “… The most rewarding thing for me is getting to come in the store and make the products and actually be like hands-on and working with them and to know that when I get finished making it, it’s going to be on the shelf and someone is going to buy it.”