Edible memories, made with love.
That’s it in a candy-coated nutshell, says Emmie King, the second generation owner (since 2016) of Nandyâ€™s Candy in Maywood Mart in LeFleur East.
Started in 1980 by Nancy King, Nandyâ€™s Candy began as a confectionary offering handmade chocolates in Colonial Mart.
Emmie and her sister grew up â€œsleeping on the floorâ€ while their parents were working. Nancy had gone to candy school in Houston to relearn skills she had picked up in her younger days. Her husband, Bill, went to candy school, too.
Ice cream followed in 1984, all handmade, but prohibitively expensive.
In 1987, snow balls were added to the mix after a nearby seafood business sold the Kings their shaved ice machine.
The sno ball â€œstand,â€ a window in the front of Nandyâ€™s Candy, offers other-worldly vibes.
â€œThe whole idea of standing outside, that true New Orleans style, waiting at the window… thatâ€™s kind of fun,â€ says Emmie. â€œFor us in the South, it gets so hot. I love me some ice cream, but at some point, you want to replenish everything. And sno balls are easy to enjoy.â€
Over 50 tried and true flavors are here, but the lineup is ever-changing with customer ideas and trends.
â€œWe try two or three new flavors a year. We do a contest, letting the customer be the mixologist. They have fun with that.â€
Try a Rainbow – blue bubble gum, watermelon and banana – or something more adventurous like the Princess and the Frog – green apple with pink lemonade.
â€œPeople come here to catch up with their kids,â€ Emmie says, pointing to miniature tables and chairs that sit just outside the sno ball window. â€œThe funniest are the moms who stop on the way to carpool. â€˜Shh,â€™ they say, â€˜Iâ€™ll be back with them but I have to get mine first!â€™â€
Back on the right side, handmade candies await.
Thirty-six to forty-five varieties of from-scratch goodness line the cases, some available seasonally.
What is the Nandyâ€™s Candy specialty?
The butter crisp is a customer favorite, but this time of year, itâ€™s â€œdone until fall because of the humidity.â€ Chocolate covered strawberries, year round, and the American truffle â€“ a hazelnut and chocolate blend, milk chocolate on one side and dark chocolate on the other â€“ top the list. Then, a simple caramel â€“ sugar, butter and cream, mixed in copper pots, is smooth and always fresh.
Handmade candy is a lost art. As candy purchases more often occur at big box stores, the thing that is missing in that mass production is simple: love.
â€œYou smell it and it gives you a memory,â€ Emmie explains. â€œImparting joy was definitely my momâ€™s original intention. Today, I do it still. Itâ€™s handmade. Itâ€™s love. I probably wouldnâ€™t be doing it if it wasnâ€™t. Itâ€™s a community thing and people come to this store because of that.â€
This was not the original path of Emmie, to be a candy maker. She has a fine art degree and spent ten years, five each in New York and Memphis, selling her art. But it was the left-brain side that intrigued her.
â€œI thought I would do art but learned I was way better at selling art than waking up every day and making it,â€ she says. â€œRunning the candy store is the best of both worlds. I get to be creative and, for someone who is a bit ADD, I get to keep changing things up.â€
After these many years, Nandyâ€™s Candy remains in Maywood Mart. Why?
â€œBecause my mom chose this,â€ Emmie says. â€œShe felt this is where Jackson was. I donâ€™t see putting a business started here thatâ€™s unique to Jackson in the suburbs. Iâ€™m a Jackson girl at heart and I love the people and the city. Going too far out is too far for me. I have my little triangle and I think it has a lot to offer.â€
Nandyâ€™s Candy, 1220 East Northside Drive, is open 10 a.m. â€“ 6 p.m. Monday â€“ Saturday.