Responding to Article: "Spiritual Sky Incense"
Posted June 2, 2007
Here's a little history of what happened to the Spiritual Sky Incense Company, which was originally started by devotees in the Los Angeles Temple, back in the early 1970's. The Spiritual Sky Incense Company was started as a means to support the devotees, and provide much needed money to support ISKCON's temples as well. It was a great company, owned and operated by devotees. Devotees ran all aspects of the company, from dipping of the incense sticks, to sales, to marketing, and even management. I was one of the original incense dippers. I personally dipped 500,000 sticks in one day.
Over the years Spiritual Sky Incense rose popularity and success, helping to support many temples across the U.S.A. and the world. At one point, the president of Spiritual Sky, Jayatirtha Prabhu, was featured on the cover of the "Wall Street Journal". Unfortunately many temples took advantage of Spiritual Sky, ordering tens of thousands of dollars worth of goods, but never paying their bills. Ultimately, this non-payment by the temples (devotees ripping off other devotees) drove the company into bankruptcy.
The shreds left from Spiritual Sky were purchased by Bhakta dasa, and the company was renamed Balarama's Enterprises. The company was moved to Visalia, in central California, in the early 1980's. Balarama's rebuilt Spiritual Sky over the years. Many devotees were employed by Balarama's. Several unfortunate events took place in the mid-1990's, which caused Balarama's to go bankrupt as well, including the selling of drug paraphernalia and components, the continued non-payment of bills by the temples, a bad batch of non-burning incense, and a huge loss from non-payment by Kmart. Kmart bought something like $1,000,000 worth of goods from Balarama's and then never paid its bill, ultimately forcing Balarama's into bankruptcy.
The last remaining shards of Spiritual Sky Incense Company were purchased by
Willert Home Products, in Saint Louis, Missouri (a manufacturer of moth
balls and toiletry products). Spiritual Sky Incense Sticks, Cones and
Perfume Oils may be purchased from www.matchlessgifts.com, a devotee owned
and operated business since 1977.