Martinsville Candy Kitchen celebrates century of sweets

MARTINSVILLE, Ind. -- After a century of sweets, the city of Martinsville declared April 5, 2019 as Martinsville Candy Kitchen Day.

The longstanding candy shop celebrated 100 years of pumping out countless sugary delights. The candy kitchen is best known for their candy canes, as the store made more than 40,000 last year. The mark is their highest to date.

“When we make candy canes, I'll think it’s weird I'm using the same scissors that the original [owner] used to," said John Wesley Badger XVI, whose grandfather now owns the stop. “[The store] started with a Greek immigrant. He came, his cousin was already here making candy canes and in Martinsville."

Jimmy Zapapas eventually sold the company to one of his employees. Over the past century, the store has changed hands several times, but for the past 15 years the Badger family has made it their own.

“They heard they were going to close, and we didn’t want it to close," said current owner John Badger XIV. “When we bought the store, we thought we could do it with no problem. We found out, first Christmas, very differently.”

During those winter months, the family can be up all night weaving home made candy canes. Badger XIV kept his day job while maintaining ownership of the store. His mother became the lead candy maker until she passed away.

“We literally had to say here's the recipes on napkins because Grandma was writing them right before she passed because she knew them by mind," John Wesley Badger XVI said. “We ship them to Iraq and Afghanistan to troops, to people who had foreign exchange students come and go back to China, and we ship them to China. We ship them to every continent except Antarctica."

The Badgers expect the store to stay in the family for years to come, and the next generation is already pushing to take over.

“I call myself junior CEO just because I've been here 15 years," young John Wesley Badger XVI said, "I hope I've ranked up a little bit.”

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