Knoxville candy factory has a new owner
Brad Hamlett, along with his wife, Joy, and father, Jim Hamlett, recently bought South's Finest Chocolate Factory, the sweet-tooth sanctuary that has locations in the Candy Factory building next to World's Fair Park and the Downtown West shopping center in Knoxville.
The family already owned Bradley's, a chocolate store and gift shop on North Peters Road. Brad Hamlett said he does some hand-dipping and makes some items from scratch at that store, but said the World's Fair Park location includes five experienced candy-makers and traditional equipment.
"It is literally made from scratch using the best ingredients," he said. "It's very rare these days that you'll find a manufacturer that does that kind of stuff anymore."
Hamlett has big plans for the location, including interior renovations, an increase in the number of products and an overhaul of the website, largely with an eye toward building a reputation as a hotspot for tourists and visitors to the city.
"We want to really turn this place into something that — when you have family that comes to Knoxville, when you have friends that come to Knoxville or when someone's passing through Knoxville— that you have to go to the candy factory and the chocolate factory," he said.
It's the sort of plan that will sound delicious to downtown boosters and business owners with an interest in increasing the center city's foot traffic. Michele Hummel, director of the Central Business Improvement District, said she hadn't yet met the new owners, but loved the fact that the chocolate factory on World's Fair Park Drive is so close to the University of Tennessee campus.
In addition, she said that "(as) we're seeing more tourists come into downtown, it just gives them another option and another thing ... to enjoy."
Source: Knoxville News Sentinel