|Emmie King took over Nandy's Candy from her mother.|
Nancy King founded Nandy's Candy in 1980 at Colonial Mart Shopping Center. Emmie said her mother worked at a candy store in Houston, Texas when she was in high school and discovered her love for making candy. Nancy later married and moved to Mississippi with her husband. She wanted to open a candy store in Jackson and sought a franchise from her former boss but he refused to give her permission to open one. However, he allowed the Kings to return to his store so he could teach them the craft of making candy. The Kings returned to Jackson and sought financing to open a candy store. The banks refused to lend money to Nancy so she could open her store but she caught a break when John Maloney (of the Cowboy Maloney family) at Deposit Guaranty National Bank approved her loan.
|Open for business|
Nancy became a pillar of the Jackson community as she made and sold her treats for decades. Her ads for chocolate covered strawberries became a fixture in the local newspapers every February. Kids lined up outside during the summer to buy snow-cones. She even ran for State Senate in 1999. She lost but gave the unspent campaign funds back to the donors. Imagine a candidate doing that in 2016!
The store moved from Colonial Mart to its current location in Maywood Mart more than 15 years ago after its building was torn down and the landlord moved the store to the back of the shopping center. A gift store closed in Maywood Mart and Nancy King seized the chance to move to a better location.
Emmie King said "As a child I loved it (making candy). I enjoyed being here, growing up, and being a part of a business where you were making something. I am a hands-on person. It sounds funny but I went to art school. There is an artistry in working with chocolate. The ability to create something from the raw materials of chocolate and sugar to make something attractive that people can consume but in a different way.".
"I love the creative process. The craft of making candy is becoming more mechanical where it's made in large factories but there is a resurgence of people making candies" said Emmie. It is somewhat similar to the emergence of craft beer. The large corporations dominated the beer industry with bland flavors and aggressive marketing until small breweries and entrepreneurs began experimenting, creating, and serving local customers who had a thirst for higher quality brew.
Emmie said Nandy's Candy is unique as small candy stores populate the Northeast but are few in the South. She enjoys making her store part of the Jackson community. Business is strong and allows Emmie to have two full-time and 10 part-time employees. Emmie is the candy-maker for the store. She lives in Belhaven with her husband and two children. Her seven year-old son serves as the Taster-in-Chief for Nandy's Candy.
|Halloween is coming|
Emmie said the internet is changing how the world does business and her store is no exception. One of the first things Emmie did after she took over the company was improve its online presence and marketing. The store had a website that contributed little to the bottom line. The website was torn down and rebuilt before Valentine's Day this year. She said Nandy's Candy now uses its website, Facebook, Snapchat, and other social media tools to sell candies. Online sales rose as the amount of products offered on the website increased. However, Emmie may look to the future but does not ignore what worked in the past. Embracing technology does not mean Emmie turned away from the personal touch that graced Nandy's Candy for decades such as the call list.
The torch has indeed passed but it will burn even brighter if Emmie King has her way.
Store information: Nandy's Candy is open Monday through Saturday from 10 AM to 6 PM in Maywood Mart.
Credit: Local photographer Tristan Duplichain shot and edited all photos used in this post.
|Better than watching the making of sausage or bills|
|Service with a smile|