He made masks, shirts, garden flags and more to sell on the market in support of Ukraine during the conflict. Creating the craft is a community effort, with a friend designing the artwork, a friend printing window decals, and Chuck using vinyl presses at home to make the garments. In less than three months, Marian’s Candles & Crafts donated approximately $350 to the Knights of Columbus’ Ukrainian solidarity fund.
“I’ve seen they fundraise for children, food, shelters, Catholic churches,” Chuck said of how the money is used.
He has seen the effect of their efforts firsthand, connecting with Ukrainian customers and neighbors. Chuck remembers a woman who came to him at the market and told him she was a dancer who had performed in a now bombed-out music hall.
“People from Ukraine also came to our booth and thanked us for selling some items,” Chuck said.
The business started at Minster Oktoberfest in 2007, when the Aliagas presided over a wooden rose table. A woman who pours candles by hand in the kitchen of her home Celina approached them about a partnership selling her seven different scents at the 2nd Street Market in Dayton. In 2022, their range of offerings has expanded to 48 scents and everything from garden flags to t-shirts.
This isn’t the first time the Aliagas have raised funds for their hometown. After the Memorial Day tornadoes hit the area in 2019, they made t-shirts and donated the funds to a food drive at St. Peter’s Catholic Church in Huber Heights, the church they frequent. Food and donations went to those affected in the North Dayton area.
Three months later, Chuck celebrated his birthday on August 4. when he heard about the Oregon District shooting that left nine dead and 17 injured.
“I will never forget this day,” Chuck said.
A few days later, he took pictures of the District of Oregon and began making shirts, selling them and donating the proceeds to the Dayton Foundation.
Just as Chuck has supported his community through struggles, he and Marian have worked to keep Marian’s Candles & Crafts alive and thriving through COVID-19, economic downturns and the changes that come in 15 years of business.
The market, their mainstay of business, closed in 2020. The business stayed afloat during the shutdown by making custom garden flags for senior graduates. As 2nd Street Market began to reopen for vendors outside, they resisted the changes and sold face masks as their other materials went to waste.
“We’re pretty much where we were in 2019,” Chuck said. “We are as good, if not a bit better.”