Wednesday, September 14, 2016

Passing the torch at Nandy's Candy

Emmie King took over Nandy's Candy from her mother.
The chocolate torch has been passed from one generation to the next at Nandy's Candy.  Jacksonians have enjoyed chocolate-covered strawberries on Valentine's Day, snow-cones in the summer,  and other sinful confectioneries  for 36 years since Nancy King opened her store.  Her daughter Emmie King took the reins of running the store she grew up in earlier this year as Nandy's Candy continues to grow. 

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
 The most popular items sold are the salted caramels, American truffles, and chocolate covered strawberries.  They are made from scratch throughout the year.  All candies are made without preservatives.  Nandy's Candy sells up to five hundred products throughout the year.

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


Candyman said...

Great story, KF. Thanks for that. Good for Nancy! Just thankful to see the store is staying in the family. That's becoming more and more rare these days.

Sweet tooth said...

Thanks for the reminder to support local, non-chain establishments

Anonymous said...

Wonderful store!

Anonymous said...

Great story about one of the good things in life. When I was in law school, I lived near there and a fellow law student also worked at Nandy's. Glad to see they're still open and doing well.

Anonymous said...

Great Story!

Johnny Weir said...

Very sweet story.

Anonymous said...

Wonderful, Nandy's holds a place in my heart as a happy part of my post adalesense and young adulthood. It was the place to go for birthdays, holidays and special treats for my friends and me.

Anonymous said...

Will the landlord run her off too?

Anonymous said...

Way overpriced

Anonymous said...

I like to eat half a dozen chocolate glazed berries and then jog half a mile at the nearby park.

Anonymous said...

9:18 They seem to be getting along well without your business.

Anonymous said...

Sez the guy who buys chocolate covered cherries at Walgreens for his wife's anniversary.

Anonymous said...

Grew up riding my bike to Nandys Candy to get a sno come or treat, they were next to a fish market in building that was torn down. Great memories, glad they are still around. Man it was great too be a kid in the 70's-80's... My kids have missed out on a lot.

Anonymous said...

"Someone here will even slag on Nandy's," I thought. Yep.

Lesli B. said...

Love this store and admire this family of entrepreneurs so much! I can vividly remember the sweet, velvety taste of Nandy's specially molded custom chocolates we served at our wedding. You can absolutely taste the love and quality ingredients put into every piece. It's truly an art form. Emmie, I'm sure your family is so proud to have you behind the counter and putting your artistic touch on the future of Nandy's. You and Jenny are so fortunate to have been taught this artisan skill over the years by a master. Best Wishes for Nandy's continued success! Sounds like your son may have an interest in being a third generation candy maker!?! I know mine would be happy to fill in as tasters anytime!

Unknown said...

Way overpriced? Have you tasted the candy?

Remember the competition id Godiva, not Snickers.

I hesitate to ask, but how is Nancy?

Unknown said...

Nandy's candy is one of my favorite memories from childhood. Everyone at St. Andrews got chocolate initials or ones favorite individual flavor jelly bellies for our birthdays! Jenny was one of my classmates! Thank you for carrying the tradition on! Making wonderful memories for others lasting 25 years! What other store could be so memorable?

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