Candy Land at Sally Lane’s Candy Farm in Paris
At Sally Lane’s Candy Farm, three generations carry on a sweet Paris, Tennessee tradition. But their reach extends far beyond their West Tennessee community, thanks to unforgettable treats made with a special touch.
Established in 1958 by Sally Lane Jones, the brand gets recognized for its pink and green mints, which have been staples at weddings, baby showers and other events for decades. While the business has changed hands over the years, the original recipes remain the same.
Longtime Paris resident Shelby Freeman and her daughter, Pam Rockwell, wanted to purchase Sally Lane’s when it was up for sale in 2006, but their husbands, Bobby Freeman and Rick Rockwell, weren’t so sure. However, when Pam’s father realized the candy farm would bring her back to Paris, he saw it as a worthy investment.
“The reason that it all came to pass was because I was living in Murfreesboro at the time, and this was the chance for me to come home,” Pam says.
A Sweet Start
After the family took over Sally Lane’s and the original recipes, they brought all of the necessary candy-making equipment to Pam’s house and started making the confections in her kitchen.
“We moved everything out of my house and had to put in vinyl floors, another sink and an extra air conditioner because the chocolate had to be cooled,” Pam says.
Soon, they needed a new space, so the family added on to their 100-year-old farm’s carriage house to create a candy factory, which they still use today. As the operation grew, everyone started pitching in.
“When we began, I made all the candy,” Shelby says. “Pam packaged all of it and took the orders, and Bobby, my husband, did the computer things. Pam’s daughters would help, and when we needed extra help, we’d ask their friends to come.”
According to Pam, the family initially expected the venture to be an “every weekend thing,” but the demand for candy was high right off the bat – and it grew even stronger when they opened up retail locations.
From Candy Camper to Brick-and-Mortar
In the summer of 2011, the family purchased an old Winnebago, which they named the Candy Camper. After painting it the signature Sally Lane’s colors – pink and green, just like the famous mints – they began selling candy on Paris’ Highway 79 South. As a result, they tapped into a new market.
“We would bring the candy every day, and we’d sit out there in the Adirondack chairs and watch people drive by, see the camper and turn around in the middle of the highway,” Pam says. “After we did that, we knew we had to find a place.”
When the pink house, the original Sally Lane’s shop on Highway 79 South, became available, the family took advantage of the opportunity.
“We walked in and saw the counters and the pink-and-white checkered wallpaper,” Pam says. “Everything was here except the candy.”
Today, Pam’s brother, Rob Freeman, and one of her daughters, Amelia Kate Martin, make the majority of the candy in the carriage house before bringing it to the shop to sell. In addition to the mints, Sally Lane’s makes bark, fudge, peanut brittle and other candies, as well as white chocolate popcorn and a variety of gift items. Amelia Kate also creates specialty sweets, especially during the holiday season, Sally Lane’s busiest time of year.
“It really is a family business,” Amelia Kate says. “We run pretty much around the clock when it comes to the holidays.”
Sally Lane’s in the Spotlight
While word of mouth has helped Sally Lane’s find success, media outlets, special events and local shops have also contributed to the brand’s impressive growth.
The first major media buzz took place in the spring of 2009, when Rachael Ray featured Sally Lane’s white-chocolate popcorn on her show’s “Snack of the Day” segment. The shop has since appeared on Tennessee Crossroads and still sees a boost every time the episode airs in reruns.
“We’ve just been lucky,” Pam says. “At least once or twice a week, somebody comes in and says, ‘I saw you on Tennessee Crossroads.’ ”
A Tasty Tradition Lives On
For more than 55 years, Sally Lane’s has been a fixture in the Paris community, and the shop has become a place where older generations reminisce while introducing a new generation to the timeless treats.
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“We know how much Sally Lane’s means to the community,” Amelia Kate says. “People come in and enjoy telling their stories about how they remember the store. It’s very special for people to tell us their memories and how we’ve preserved them.”
Due to the family’s love for the Paris community and their commitment to creating quality candies, it’s safe to say Sally Lane’s will continue to be part of cherished memories for years to come.
“Paris is a great place to raise kids and just a good place to be,” Pam says. “Sally Lane’s is part of Paris, and so are we.”