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Door County couple wins $1 million on game show, gives $1 million to Ukraine

Posted at 9:18 PM, Apr 13, 2023
and last updated 2023-04-14 11:53:45-04

CARLSVILLE (NBC 26) — A local couple has millions of reasons to celebrate this week.

Door County Candle Company owners Christiana and Nic Trapani won more than $1 million this week on the NBC game show "The Wall."

"Last year in April, we got a call from a producer from 'The Wall,' and they wanted to feature us, and my husband and I were like, 'We're just so busy, we don't have time to leave the shop,"' Christiana Trapani said.

However, she said they decided to take the chance and be on the show. Now, with the money, she said they plan to "reinvest" into equipment and "back into the business."

"We're just continue to grow and thrive, and we want to continue giving back," Trapani said. "I never would have thought a year ago we would be where we are today."

Their employees, like Larry Mickelson, a store candle maker, are just as excited for them.

"Everyone was just watching it, just like the rest of America thinking 'Oh my God, what are they going to do? Are they going to bust out? Are they going to make money?' But it was really exciting to watch," Mickelson said.

However, that's not the only exciting thing happening for the Trapani's this week.

They just raised $1 million on their own, by making candles to help Ukraine. All the proceeds from their Ukraine candles benefit the war-torn country.

"I was thinking even if we just raised like $100, it's something to make a difference, but a million is just beyond my wildest dreams being able to raise that much money," Trapani said.

She said they've shipped Ukraine candles to all 50 states and even Canada.

Julia LaViollete, also a store candle maker, said when they began selling the Ukraine candles, she didn't anticipate she'd be making as many as she currently is now, but she's excited that they met their million dollar goal.

"I hoped for it," LaViollete said. "I mean that was incredible, for a candle store where we hand pour the candles, so it was pretty amazing."

Trapani said now they've branched out to more philanthropy efforts, like their Door County Cherry candle that benefits Door-Tran, a local organization that provides free rides to those in the area who need transportation services.

"Since then, we've done other causal candles, such as one for Hurricane Ian...for UNICEF for the Turkey earthquake," Trapani said. "We've raised $20,000 in funds also outside of Ukraine."

She said she's glad she and her husband decided to go on the game show, so they can continue to make candles to benefit others.

"At the end of the day, we realized it's just one more way to promote our mission, and what we want to do and how we want to help with our candles," Trapani said.