Ernest Fowler, CEO and Founder of Candleberry Candle Company
Ernest Fowler, CEO and Founder of Candleberry Candle Company

The Candleberry Candle Company, a well-known and respected, family-owned, Kentucky based business came from humble beginnings, just as its CEO and co-founder Ernest Fowler did. Fowler, a self-made entrepreneur who grew up in Harlan County, built The Candleberry Candle Company from the ground up with his wife Jan and two children, Lisa and Neal, on the basis that, “If you are not growing, you are diminishing.” Today, Candleberry Candles has become a household name, beloved, and sold world-wide. The company now ships candles to thousands of stores, with multi-million dollar revenues each year. Fowler has been a proud member of Commonwealth Credit Union for almost 50 years and utilizes their Business Account Services. He values security, giving him the peace of mind to focus on the success of his ever-growing business.

Fowler, who goes by Ernie, has been with Commonwealth Credit Union since the late 60’s. “I was a customer when Commonwealth Credit Union had one employee. She would write you a check right there on the spot if you needed a withdrawal.” Like The Candleberry Candle Company, Commonwealth Credit Union has been growing substantially since the first branch in 1951, now boasting 14 branches, 5 of which are in the Louisville Area, and over 300 employees.

Thanks to his previous relationship with Commonwealth Credit Union, when the time came to entrust his up-and-coming business with a financial institution, it was a simple decision. “Signing up for and maintaining my individual account had been a very positive experience over the years, so it was a smooth transition overall – it was an easy choice to make. And I’ve never had a complaint!”

Throughout the years, Commonwealth Credit Union’s financial services and Business Accounts have benefited both him and his company, and as time has gone on, it has seen both Commonwealth Credit Union and The Candleberry Candle Company grow larger with each passing year. “It’s been more of a partnership rather than a one-sided experience. We’ve both grown together, expanding our coverage and services, as a team.” This feeling of community and partnership is just one aspect of what makes Commonwealth Credit Union different from a typical banking experience.

This is clearly resonating in the community, as Commonwealth Credit Union has 105,000+ members.

In talking with Fowler, it was clear that Commonwealth Credit Union played a pivotal role in building his company and taking away some of the mental stress that goes with owning and running your own business. “With Commonwealth Credit Union, money management is quick and easy. They take a lot of the guesswork out of it which allows me to feel confident about reaching my business goals, even on the go.”

Ernest Fowler, CEO and Founder of Candleberry Candle Company
Ernest Fowler, CEO and Founder of Candleberry Candle Company

When it comes to the efficiency required for a business (and by extension their financial institution), Fowler believes that the range of services available plays a large part in choosing a partner you can trust. “As a business owner, I rely on Commonwealth Credit Union most heavily when it comes to how simple it is to expedite money transfers and transactions. Commonwealth Credit Union makes it easy to get business done.” The fact that they were ranked #1 by Forbes is no coincidence, after all. Commonwealth Credit Union serves businesses and individuals across 24 counties in Kentucky, including the Louisville Metro Area.

Fowler can attest: Commonwealth Credit Union sets out to not only better lives for the everyday member, but to also empower business owners to achieve financial goals and milestones in their careers. He considers partnering with Commonwealth Credit Union as a cornerstone in his business’ success, “Thanks to the confidence supplied by Commonwealth Credit Union’s Business Accounts, our personal lives have also been enriched – we don’t have to worry about who’s controlling our funds, because Commonwealth Credit Union is a wonderful guardian of our financial interests.”

As the CEO and co-founder of a Kentucky-based company, Ernie and his wife Jan take comfort in the reliability and accessibility of their nearby Commonwealth Credit Union branch. “Banking with a local institution helps make everyone feel a little more like a family. As the CEO of a family-run company, this appeals to me on a personal level. They know more than my name, they know me.”

“Commonwealth Credit Union not only strives each and every day to better lives in the community, but also to provide services and accounts that can grant business owners the tools and the ability they need to grow, develop, and maintain success,” said Kim Durrum, VP of Operations at Commonwealth Credit Union. “We take a great deal of pride in partnering with local businesses and entrepreneurs, and our business accounts and services are a great example of this. They’re hand-tailored for those who are seeking to establish and grow their own businesses,” added Robert Minichan, Commercial Lending Manager.

Commonwealth Credit Union
Commonwealth Credit Union is a cooperative, not-for-profit financial institution owned and operated by its members exclusively to meet their financial needs. Currently, 100,000+ people from across Kentucky and beyond are Commonwealth Credit Union members.