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May 13, 2024

Tiffany's Wish

By Alexandra Queen

Opening the door to Tiffany's Wish may be like entering into another world of heavenly scents and beautiful sights, but the store is about more than the fairy tree hung with enticing baubles and exquisite pixies, or the shelves full of candles with inviting aromas like "Grandma's Kitchen". This craft boutique is a living memorial to a very special girl. And it may have saved one woman's life.

Four years ago, Tammy Wagner's fifteen year old daughter, Tiffany, was struck by a car and killed. The loss was nothing short of devastating. "She was too good," Tammy remembered, eyes filling as she talked about her daughter. "I should have known God was going to call her home." In the aftermath of the accident, one memory kept resurfacing in Wagner's mind. That of her daughter helping her change out a display in a consignment booth, saying, "Mom, I wish you had your own little store, right here in Ripon, so all my friends could see the great stuff you make."

Wagner was determined to make her daughter's wish come true. With little funding and less experience, she went looking for a storefront. "It's not going to work," her family warned her. "Not in Ripon." But with a lot of hard work and an outpouring of support from friends and family, Wagner was able to open Tiffany's Wish in the Mar-Val Shopping Center at 1201 W. Main Street in Ripon. "I really feel like the Lord wanted this to happen. He just lifted one roadblock after another." Being able to throw herself into creating a living memorial to her daughter helped keep Wagner sane. "Looking back, I really don't know how I managed to survive," Wagner said. "Her wish saved my life."

A frame on the counter holds a photo of Tiffany and a homework assignment she had done only a few months before her death, reading, "The way I see it is that you are never really sad for the person [who died], you are sad for yourself because you will miss them ... but the person that died is way happier than they were alive." It overlooks a wall of candles that, according to Tammy Wagner, are the heartbeat of the store.

Tiffany had begun collecting candles eight months before she died. Like everything in the store, Tammy Wagner wanted a product that was worthy of the memory of her daughter, but the only lines of candles that met her requirements for quality were too expensive for her to bring in. Her solution? She would mix and pour her own. "Angel Wings", "Hearts and Flowers", and "Cinnamon Toast" are some of the more than fifty fragrances Wagner has created, from florals to warm kitchen scents, all worthy of bearing Tiffany's name.

Not only has Tiffany's memory lived on, it's been thriving. Tammy and her family have opened a website where people can order from their line of "Heavenly Scented Candles" and where anyone is invited to share their memories of lost loved ones. Tammy and her husband Mark have also been able to purchase the ice cream shop one door down from their store. With what Tammy describes as tremendous support from friends and family, especially her mother, brother, employee Casie and Casie's boyfriend, Tyler, they plan to turn the previous "Sweets" into a fantasy-themed Kandy Kastle, due to open the first week of October. Like any small business, things are tight, but they're going on schedule, Wagner said with cautious optimism. All the sacrifices and hard work are worth it for her to be able to spend her time making Tiffany's wish come true.

On the web at: www.tiffanyswish.com

This article first appeared in the Manteca (Calif.) Bulletin
Article © Alexandra Queen. All rights reserved.
Published on 2003-11-22
1 Reader Comments
11:50:00 PM
I see these candles for sale ALL over the
USA.I personally purchased 2 cases from Tammy and gave away one case to various people and i'm about finished with the second one. I guess it's about time to
purchase another couple of cases!!!
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