Handmade items a’plenty

Kishacoquillas Valley Soap Co., Belleville, offers much more than soap

BELLEVILLE — Four years ago, Cindy Zook used homemade soap for the first time.

She loved it so much it became a staple in her home.

One day, Zook thought to herself, “Maybe I could make this myself.”

So, she did.

Zook started making soap with local goat milk and participated in a soap-making class in Pittsburgh with Pennsylvania’s sole licensed soap-making instructor.

From there, Zook used her skill to create many different soap and scent combinations. About a year ago, Zook established an LLC and finally opened the Kishacoquillas Valley Soap Company store in Belleville in Sept. of 2018.

Zook creates all her soap using goat milk from Byler’s, in Belleville.

She explained the creation process — first freeze the milk, add lye, strain the mixture twice, add essential oils, and finally add scents and colors.

“It takes a few hours to make a batch of soap and each one has to cure for five weeks,” Zook said.

Zook also sells body butter, sugar scrubs, foaming pump soaps, roll-on essential oils and lotion bars, which are all made by her.

Some scents Zook has created are vanilla musk, loving spell, mint, peach margarita and southern gentleman. She also has an unscented oatmeal soap option.

Kishacoquillas Valley Soap Company is home to a variety of handmade items and fair-trade items.

African market baskets, from Uganda and Ghana, are available, along with handmade jewelry from Walnut Ridge Designs.

On display are ceramic mugs with lace imprints, fair-trade scarves, watercolor paintings, baby crib-sized comforters and an assortment of locally-made paintings and crafts.

Zook’s vision is to continue to expand her product line. She wishes to reach out to local artisans to help them establish their own businesses.

“I know what it’s like to have nowhere to go with your products,” she said. “I am just amazed at how much talent is in this area, and I want to help these artists.”

Currently, Zook’s store has two rooms filled with the soaps and handmade items. She is planning to add a third room to her shop to make room for more inventory.

Zook has plans for her expansion.

She said she is going to add Young Living Essential Oils to her stock, as well as bath bombs.

For the holidays, Zook said she will have gift baskets assembled for easy gifting.

“If you are looking for something specific, just ask me about it and I can see if I can get it into my store,” she said.

Zook is open to new ideas and helping local artists sell their work.

Kishacoquillas Valley Soap Company is located at 4129 East Main Street, Belleville, across the street from the Belleville VFW. The store and its parking lot are located in the back of the building.

Currently, the store hours are 10 a.m. – 4 p.m. Wednesday and Friday, and 9:30 a.m. – 1:30 p.m. Saturday, as well as by appointment. It can be contacted at (717) 935-2677.

For last-minute additional hours and information, find Kishacoquillas Valley Soap Company on Facebook. To view some of its inventory and for other company details, visit www.kishacoquillasvalleysoapco.com.