The Maricopa location will be the 31st franchise of Buff City Soap and the first in Arizona.

A Tennessee-based soap-making company is making its Arizona debut in Maricopa on Saturday.

The grand opening of Buff City Soap runs from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. at 21101 N. John Wayne Parkway, Suite E102, next to Say Sushi. The store is open until 7 p.m.

Buff City Soap creates plant-based soaps, from hand soaps to laundry soaps. Each shop has a “makery” where customers can watch the process of their soap being made.

“We’re very transparent,” franchise owner LaDonda Dees said. “Every single thing we do, we do in the store.”

Buff City has its popular soap scents like Narcissist, Unicorn, Island Nectar and Ferocious Beast, but it will also make custom blends of two scents chosen by the customer. Soaps are made from olive, palm and coconut oils, sodium hydroxide and essential oils.

Dees has converted the 1,400-square-foot shop space to allow for product display and the makery. It includes a 17-foot bar, where customers can sit and experience the products. A Maricopan since 2012, she hopes to open five franchises in Arizona.

She plans to have kids’ parties and soap-making classes for clients age 18 and up.

Besides herself, she will have four employees. She said she was already in the franchise process when she discovered she was pregnant. She expects her staff to be able to run the show as her due date approaches in February.

She has worked in sales 15 years, most recently an account manager for Verizon supporting several stores for eight years. Her husband Kevin is from Bartlett, Tennessee, home of Buff City Soap, and that is where her sister-in-law introduced her to the company.

Contact Dees at Learn more about LaDonda Dees’ Buff City Soap in the January issue of InMaricopa magazine.