By Emily Williams-Robertshaw
The Birmingham Candy Company will be bringing its handmade, locally sourced confections Over the Mountain for the holiday season.
From Oct. 16 through Christmas, the company created by husband-and-wife team Wayne and Cassie Bolden will be selling confections at a pop-up storefront at The Summit near Belk.
“It does feel like coming home to the Summit,” Wayne said. “It was one of the huge stepping stones in our journey to building our business and clientele.”
Halloween is a special time of year for the couple, who first met at a Halloween party.
At the time, they were both living in Savannah, Georgia. Cassie was studying interior design at Savannah College of Art and Design, and Wayne was working for a candy company, honing a love of both the culinary and business aspects of the candy biz.
Wanting to open their own shop, the couple saw a void to be filled in Birmingham. It would be a return home for Cassie, who grew up in Hoover.
The Birmingham Candy Company got its start in small pop-up shops at places such as The Summit’s Christmas Village and Pepper Place Market beginning in 2015.
After gaining a solid following in the community, the Boldens opened their first storefront in The Pizitz Food Hall.
The new temporary location will provide easier access to local candy lovers who live Over the Mountain, as well as out-of-town shoppers who flock to The Summit.
A New Vision
When people visit the temporary location, they will have a slightly different experience compared to The Pizitz store.
“This is going to be a new iteration for us at The Birmingham Candy Company,” Wayne said. “We have noticed an ever-evolving way in which people shop now, and we are testing a new model during this pop-up.”
At the downtown location, a focus its all about the individual candies. Items are designed to be eye-catching, and people pick and choose the pieces they want.
“Well, we often found our customers overwhelmed with our selection when it came to gift giving,” Cassie said. Oftentimes, people choosing candies to give as gifts would have trouble deciding what pieces to include.
At the pop-up, everything in the shop will be pre-packaged, ready to stick in a stocking or gift basket or give as a stand-alone gift.
Designed as a higher-end grab-n-go shopping experience, Wayne said, the location will offer gifts that include a mixture of their classic candies as well as finer chocolates.
With Halloween on the horizon, candies dressed in orange, dark brown, black and white will hit the Birmingham Candy Company’s shelves along with a focus on warm fall-inspired flavors.
The stars of the lineup are always the caramel apples. Their apples are dipped in chocolate and sprinkles or festively dressed in holiday-inspired decorations resembling mummies or witches.
Wayne can predict when apple sales will begin to climb. It’s all in the weather.
“It happened a few weeks ago when the temperatures dropped a bit and we got those few windy, chilly days,” he said. “Fall was in the air.”
Staff also saw increasing interest in the return of fall-inspired fudge flavors over the past few weeks.
“During this time of year, we love to slap caramel and pecans on everything,” Wayne said. All pecans are, of course, sourced right here in the South.
Treats for the season are warmed with autumnal flavors like nutmeg, cinnamon and allspice. It’s also a big season for the company’s handcrafted salted caramel.
“We add these ingredients to our fudges,” Wayne said, which results in flavors such as caramel apple pie, carrot cake and the ever-popular dark chocolate caramel sea salt.
The Boldens and their staff have been preparing for things to kick into high gear over the coming months.
According to Wayne, business starts to pick up as Halloween approaches, which is quickly followed by the gift-giving season. Luckily, they typically have a chance to catch their breath in January before Valentine’s Day swoops in.
Over the next three months, Cassie said, it’s all about finding time to treasure the simple moments when things get overwhelming.
“This pandemic has sure helped us simplify our values and be grateful for the small treasures in life,” Cassie said. “Thankfully, our team helps out a ton also. We couldn’t do it without them. We try to have as much fun as possible during this season, because we feel that laughter makes everything better.”
It also helps to see smiling faces of customers, something they see a good bit of in the candy business.
“Candy is so nostalgic for people,” Wayne said. “It certainly is for us.”
“It just seems to be the perfect pick-me-up for when you’re sad or even for when you’re happy and want to celebrate,” he added. “It’s always very satisfying to see that smile and enjoyment on our customers’ faces. It really makes all the hard work worth it.”