5 things you didn’t know about Emmie KingBy NIKKI ROWELL,
At night, she switches her candy-making apron for her artist apron to relax. She has two sons: Parker, 12, and Charlie, 9. She is dyslexic. She thinks of it as her super power. She loves to travel with her family, especially to North Carolina. She and her son created the Olaf snoball flavor, which is marshmallow and blue cotton candy. It’s her favorite.
Walking into Nandy’s Candy, the first thing you’ll notice is not just the sweet smell of confections being handmade behind the counter or the rows and rows of custom chocolates.
The first things most guests will notice are usually the families gathered outside around the tables enjoying a cold snoball or waiting in line for a sweet treat after school.
The motivation behind Nandy’s Candy is, in fact, the family aspect of it.
Emmie King, the owner, took over the business approximately nine years ago. Her family started it in October 1980. King said they are currently in their 39th year.
King is a Jackson native, and though she has traveled to and lived in other cities over the years. She made her way back to Mississippi and eventually took over the family candy business.
“It was my mother’s dream,” she said. When King’s mother fell ill several years ago, King stepped in to keep up the day-to-day operations.
King is a graduate of St. Andrews and the University of Kansas, where she earned her degree in fine art and print making.
She worked in the art world for some time. She lived in New York City for a time, selling impressionist art. She lived in Memphis and worked at an art gallery.
Eventually, she and her husband, Spencer Beard, moved back to Mississippi while he attended law school and then settled in Jackson. Over the years, she helped out at the candy store.
“I wouldn’t ever miss a Mistletoe or a Christmas,” she said. “There were always days through the season that I would help out.”
The candy store has been located in Maywood Mart for the past 22 years, featuring outdoor seating, a window where guests can order snoballs during the summer months, several shelves of their own unique, handmade candies and more.
King’s day typically begins with checking the temperature of the machines, checking emails and making sure everything is ready for the day ahead.
By mid-morning, she is working away on dipping berries, checking the consistency of her pralines or cooking caramel.
She tries to finish her candy-making duties by 2 to 3 p.m. most days, so that she can help her other employees behind the counter with the after-school rush.
“That’s our busy time,” she said.
For Nandy’s, the candy season starts up around August and ends at Easter.
While they make candy year-round, King said the weather plays a role in determining the best days for candy-making.
“Being in the South, there’s so much humidity and the heat gets to a certain point where it’s not optimal,” she said.
During the summer months, they make a little less candy. However, they keep the store stocked up and take orders. They also offer more than 70 snoball flavors.
“Candy-making is really about chemistry,” she said. “That’s really what I’ve learned along the way, hands-on.”
She picked up a lot of tips and tricks from her mother when she would spend afternoons at the store going over formulas.
“Learning how sugar, water and temperature all react has been a part of the process,” she said.
The candy season kicks off in August, when students are going back to school.
“We make any kind of teacher gifts,” she said. “Then you move into September and October, and I’m going to start making a lot more caramel. Caramel apples, caramel popcorn, some things that are more savory and fall.”
They keep stocked up on their handmade chocolates as well, and everything from popcorn to divinity and shaped chocolates. The chocolate shapes that they offer changes with the seasons and holidays.
The store boasts a collection of approximately 200 chocolate molds that they have collected over the years. King said they have antique molds that her mother collected when the store first opened. King now scours sales and online for molds for their collection.
“If you think of it in chocolate, we generally have it,” King said. “And if not, I will get it.”