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Sweeney’s SOS shop opens

By Staff | Sep 28, 2016

Patti Sweeney with a “soap mold” in her Sweeney's SOS shop on Stringfellow Road. ED FRANKS

Just north of Pine Island Center there is a new business, Sweeney’s SOS, located at 10954 Stringfellow Road, Bokeelia, next to Pine Island Printing.

“Sweeney’s SOS is a soap and skin care business,” owner Patti Sweeney said. “I’m just getting started here on Pine Island and I wanted to take some time to get set up and get my inventory in place. Right now I’m open just two days a week but I will decide on more hours in early October.

“I didn’t aspire to be a soap maker, it just kind of came out of nowhere,” Sweeney said.

“I knew I didn’t want to work a crummy job, live in a crummy apartment, I wanted something more. In 2008 I worked at a small mom and pop soap making business and that’s when I decided to open my own business. In December 2009 I opened a shop at the Flamingo Island Flea Market in Bonita Springs but after 4 years I got tired of the flea market atmosphere. Fortunately I had developed a list of wonderful repeat customers who could order directly online.”

The unit on Stringfellow Road became vacant in June or July and when Sweeney realized the unit was empty she contacted the owner.

“I noticed the sign for the gun shop was removed and I contacted the owner of the building,” Sweeney said. “When I learned that it was available, I thought, why not? This is our first retail location. Originally I was looking for a workshop but this has turned into a fabulous retail location.

“This is a specialty niche business,” Sweeney said. “I make soaps that are for health and wellness so they’re made with food grade vegetable oils in a cold process. I use only the finest quality blends of coconut, palm, extra virgin olive and castor oils. These oils allow for a mild bar of soap with excellent lathering, moisturizing and cleansing abilities. I don’t use any animal fats, synthetic dyes or preservatives in our homemade soaps.

“The heart and soul of my business is the activated charcoal soap,” Sweeney said. “Activated charcoal draws bacteria, poisons, chemicals, dirt and other micro-particles to the surface of skin, helping you to achieve a flawless complexion and fight acne.

“Charcoal is even used to treat some poisonous bites and disinfect some wounds,” Sweeney added. “Activated charcoal powder is proven to absorb thousands of times its own mass in harmful substances. It has been known to help with eczema, psoriasis, and many other skin conditions.”

The soap-making process is fairly simple, she said. Beginning with a basic recipe, sodium hydroxide is added to distilled water. Oils are then added and the liquid is heated, mixed with a blender and then left to cool. Herbs are added, then essential oils, and everything is placed in a mold. The mold is wrapped in a blanket, “put to bed” Sweeney calls it, and allowed to cool over night. This keeps the residual heat in and starts the ‘saponification’ process. Saponification is the process of the base ingredients becoming soap.

Sweeney offers a wide selection of soaps: Anise, Charcoal, Coffee, Lavender Oatmeal, Lavender Shea, Lavender Tea Tree, Lemon Grass, Mint Mist, Orange Clove with Oats, Patchouli, Pure and Scentless and Refresh Mint.

“This business is all about our community,” Sweeney said. “We are a 100 percent community-oriented business. I have a container on my counter where people can make a donation to Helping PAWS Animal Sanctuary in St. James City. PAWS is a non-profit no-kill shelter that houses over 200 cats.

“Sweeney’s SOS is all about health, wellness and less toxins,” Sweeney said. “”I’m a believer in the ‘less is more’ philosophy. Most of my products have five or less ingredients.

I invite all Pine Islanders to stop by for a sample or a purchase. We’re open Friday’s and Saturdays from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Watch the Facebook pages for expanded hours next month.”

For additional information, visit www.sweeneyssos.com, email sweeneyssos@gmail.com or call (720) 933-0773.

Sweeney’s SOS is also on Facebook as well as other Pine Island Facebook pages.