Getting Down to Business With Cody and Kenny

Shot of the couple Kenny Newby and Cody Chamberlain.
Kenny Newby and Cody Chamberlain. Photos courtesy of Kenny Newby

What if your dream person also turned out to be your dream business partner? Well, that hypothetical isn’t so hypothetical for Kenny Newby (he/him) and Cody Chamberlain (he/him). The couple recently decided to take their COVID-hobby-turned-business-venture to the next level by opening up a brick-and-mortar storefront together for their handcrafted candle business, Shoreline Goods.

Newby and Chamberlain’s love story starts long before any mention of Shoreline Goods, though. The couple met sixteen years ago in Bemidji, where they were both living at the time. While Newby is Bemidji born-and-raised, Chamberlain was a complete newbie to the area. He says, “I was living there because I worked at Bemidji State University—it was my first professional job and I moved there not knowing one person. I met Kenny about one month after moving there. We met online and decided to meet up and hang out.” And that was it. From there, the pair was drawn together by their mutual love for music and sports. Neither of them were out to their families at the time, so their relationship presented its challenges, but the two always found so much comfort and support in each other. Newby says, “I had never met someone before Cody that I had so much in common with. Being able to be open with him and just be myself was a very liberating feeling. I remember thinking it was all too good to be true as we had so much fun together and just laughed all the time.”

It’s so clear to see that Chamberlain and Newby’s relationship was definitely built on a foundation of happiness. Chamberlain says, “[Being with Newby] just seemed so easy and natural. At the beginning of our relationship, we just had fun. [We] went to lots of country music concerts, played in a volleyball league together. I met a lot of Kenny’s friends through this and I loved them just as much as he did. Like I said, it was super easy and organic. It just worked and we had a blast in those two years in Bemidji.”

Exterior shot of Shoreline Goods store.

After two years in Bemidji, the couple moved out west for a while before coming home to Minnesota. Their relationship is as strong as ever. Chamberlain says, “Kenny and I are best friends and are committed to each other, our home, our pup, and now our business…[He] is funny, smart, driven, and a hard worker. He also has the kindest smile and a great belly laugh. Those are the things I like about him. I look at him and I feel at home.” It really is true what they say about home: it’s a feeling, not a place. And Newby has plenty of good things to say about Chamberlain too. “Cody is the balance I need in my life. He takes great care of our home and all the little things that are easy for me to not pay enough attention to… Cody is a great story teller and I always enjoy the things he shares from his past. He makes me laugh, is very supportive of me, [is] a hard worker, and I love his smile.”

Newby and Chamberlain weren’t always in the candle-making and woodworking business, however. In fact, Chamberlain is an elementary school counselor and is currently pursuing a MSE/Ed.S. School Psychology degree. Newby, who has worked in public education for 21 years as both a teacher and principal, currently works as a elementary principal. Chamberlain also serves on the Board of Directors for the National Association of Elementary School Principals as the Zone 7 Director, a role that gives him the opportunity to represent the eight states in Zone 7 (Minnesota, North Dakota, South Dakota, Nebraska, Colorado, Wyoming, Montana, and Alaska).

So how did candles get involved, exactly? Well, Newby and Chamberlain’s business together started sort of unexpectedly. After being inspired by local farmers markets and art fairs, they decided to try their hand at crafting—and through hard work, determination and support from each other, created Shoreline Goods.

Chamberlain says, “Shoreline Goods started out as an at-home candle business. We got a simple candle kit during COVID and it sat unopened in the basement for years.” But after getting the energy to dive into the project, they quickly fell into the swing of things. Chamberlain says, “We currently have our candles in a good number of stores in the area as well as a few shops in each of our hometowns. We recently acquired a great retail space between Scandia and Marine on Saint Croix and we plan to open in the spring with our candles and woodworking along with other unique Midwestern vendors—jewelry, body products, teas, and home goods to name a few.”

Cody and Kenny together on a lake and mountains.

Some people might worry that starting a small business together, with all the stress that it can bring, might tear a relationship apart—but not Newby and Chamberlain’s. With such a foundation of love, support, and determination to beat the odds, the couple’s relationship has only gotten stronger. Chamberlain says, “I think it’s strengthened [our relationship]. We spend a lot of time brainstorming about what our next steps are and how we can better our exposure and our products. It’s been nothing but beneficial to be in business together even through the ups and downs. It’s nerve wracking to have a small business and now to open a storefront but the more people we meet, and the more we realize what our customers want—we feel empowered to keep getting better and better.”

If we learn anything from Chamberlain and Newby’s incredible love story, it’s that doing what you love with the person you love is a truly wonderful thing.

Don’t miss out on all the awesome handcrafted finds at Shoreline Goods’ brand new location! And to check out their online shop for yourself, log on to:

Shoreline Goods
19707 St Croix Trail N., Marine on St Croix
Facebook: Shoreline Goods MN
Instagram: @shorelinegoodsmn

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