By John Lovett
Times Record, Fort Smith, Ark.
Colquitt and Co. Soapworks, known locally for its wide palette of handcrafted soaps and lotions, wrapped up its fifth year in business by opening a new storefront at Green Pointe Center in Fort Smith.
Trina Colquitt and one of her soap makers were busy last week at the little Barling soap factory on Fort Street making new batches of their artfully designed aromatic soaps to restock shelves at both Colquitt & Co. Soapworks locations.
“Christmas wiped us out,” Colquitt said Wednesday in a nearly empty storeroom as Sarah Smith prepared to cut a new batch of black raspberry soap bars. “Soap always makes good presents, and local support has really kept us in business.”
Since starting in a little shop eight years ago next to a nail salon in Arkoma, Colquitt’s soaps have become a favored item for personal pampering and gifts to loved ones. Most Colquitt customers have been from Charleston, Lavaca and Barling, she adds. But with the new Green Pointe location in the middle of Rogers Avenue, Colquitt’s sales have jumped and calmed initial worries that November was a risky time to make the move.
Fort Smith’s fine soap lovers took notice, clearing shelves of their most popular cold pressed soaps and had a bit of aromatic therapy in the process of discovering just what Colquitt and her crew can do with a few basic ingredients. A foamy white topping to Colquitt’s Seaside soap adds a creative effect. Some of the soaps look like food. A little secret to her craft is using bubble wrap to make the intricate indentations of a honeycomb pattern on top of her best-selling honey almond shea butter soap. The artisan’s craft for those double and triple layer soaps, however, remain years in the making.