MARTINSVILLE, Ind. – You know how in small towns there’s always the store with a special place in your heart? The one children and grandchildren must visit when they come home? In Martinsville it’s the Martinsville Candy Kitchen.
Martinsville has been the county seat of Morgan County since it was founded in 1822. The name comes from John Martin, who surveyed the land.
It earned the nickname “The City of Mineral Water” for its well-known water sanitariums.
Around 12,000 people live there today, including a man named John Badger, who owns the 100-year-old Candy Kitchen.
John pays tribute to its history in the front of his downtown store with pictures of the five owners before him. John and his wife got the keys 15 years ago. They still have their full-time jobs!
“My wife, my son and daughter and their spouses all help. So do a few grandkids. The younger grandkids are taste testers. That’s where everybody starts out!”
And all the equipment in the kitchen is 100-years-old.
“The marble table, the hook we pull the candy canes on and the cook stove are all original. There’s not much mechanical to it. It’s all man!”
John says buckeyes might just be most popular on the daily, but candy canes are what they’re known for.
“When we bought the store, we were making about 10,000. Last year we made 40,100 candy canes,” said John. “This year so far we’ve made over 3,000 just in January, February and March.”
If you visit, you’ll also notice a picture of legendary coach John Wooden on the wall. He loved their dark chocolate orange jellies.
“He used to live here in Martinsville and even when he moved, he expected his visitors from home to take him a box of chocolates.”
To celebrate the rich history of the Martinsville Candy Kitchen, there’s a big party Saturday at 7 p.m. There is a party geared toward kids from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the store.
John gives all the credit to his community.
“If it weren’t for the local people, they come in every day, every week. They come in and buy the stuff and we’re happy to sell it to them.”
And they want to pay it forward to other local businesses.
“If you go into the local retail stores and purchase something, they’ll give you a wooden nickel and then at the restaurants this weekend, if you go in and purchase a meal, they’ll give you a wooden nickel. You bring that nickel back over to us and you get free ice cream with your cake on Saturday during the party.”
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