All-natural soap maker Buff City Soap set to make a sudsy splash in Grand Forks

Originally founded in Memphis, Buff City Soap is bringing two locations to North Dakota. The store carries plant-based soaps which are made in-house at each store.

Each Buff City Soap store produces its own handmade, plant-based soap products in store. The company is planning to open two stores in North Dakota.
Contributed / Buff City Soap

GRAND FORKS — Plant-based soap maker Buff City Soap will soon open a pair of locations in North Dakota.

Julie Varilek, the company’s district manager for North and South Dakota, said that a store will open in Grand Forks, as well as a second store in Sioux Falls, South Dakota. Varilek said a new Fargo store is another piece of an expansion for the brand in the region.

Varilek, who was born in Grafton, North Dakota, came on board with Buff City Soap’s current Sioux Falls location in November. She previously worked as the district manager for a firm which managed restaurants across eight states.

Sales have been strong in Sioux Falls in the year-plus that the store has been open, Varilek said. “It’s going extremely well, everybody loves us,” she said.

Buff City Soap was originally founded in Memphis, Tennessee, with a goal of making high-end products without artificial chemicals. “They wanted to find a better way to have all these luxuries that we have now without all the chemicals,” Varilek said. “We don’t have all the chemicals in our products.”


Buff City Soap stocks cleaning products for both the home and body. All of the items are produced in store using plant-based ingredients.
Contributed / Buff City Soap

The store stocks a broad range of bath and body products, Varilek said, including soap products, lotion and “all the accessories.” All products are made by hand on site from plant-based ingredients, she added.

The list of products on hand includes bath bombs, shower fizzies and oils, body butters, and bath truffles, which contain shea butter and cocoa butter. “If it goes on your skin, we pretty much have it,” she said, though she noted the store does not make shampoo or conditioner.

In addition to body soap products, Buff City Soap also makes its own laundry soap. Julie Varilek, the company’s district manager for North and South Dakota, said laundry soap is a best-selling product at Buff City Soap's Sioux Falls store.
Contributed / Buff City Soap

The store also carries children’s and locally themed lines. Further, Buff City Soap offers its own laundry soap, which Varilek said is the best-selling product at the company’s Sioux Falls location. “You guys are going to love the laundry soap, I can tell you that,” she remarked.

Varilek said the Fargo store is hoping to hire between 20 and 25 employees, all of whom will be trained to make all of the store’s products. Varilek said they hope to open the Fargo store by the end of March, though construction could impact the timeline.

In 2020, the Memphis Business Journal reported that Buff City Soap would relocate its corporate headquarters from its home city to Dallas. At the time, Buff City Soap had 35 locations in 11 states, The Commercial Appeal noted .

Since then, Buff City Soap has expanded significantly. According to its website and not including the two new stores in North Dakota, the company has 259 stores either open or in development throughout the United States. The brand’s strongest presence is in the Deep South and East Coast, though locations also stretch as far west as Montana and Colorado.

“It feels awesome. This company, they’re wonderful to work for,” Varilek said regarding the plans to expand in North Dakota. “It is a very fast-growing company. There’s always something going on and they’re expanding like crazy. It’s wonderful.”

Thomas Evanella is a reporter for The Forum. He's worked for The Forum for over three years, primarily reporting on business news. He's also the host of the InForum Business Beat podcast, which can be streamed at or wherever you listen to your podcasts. Reach him at or by calling 701-241-5518. Follow him on Twitter @ThomasEvanella.
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