Marianne DeMeyers opened Honey’s Vintage Sweets because she understands that the love of sweets transcends generational gaps. Her new candy emporium at 123 S. Margin Street in Downtown Franklin is bursting with confectionary creations and nostalgic concoctions—placing a smile on nearly every face that walks through the doors.
DeMeyers says the idea for an ultimate one-stop sweet shop was inspired while watching Dylan Lauren, founder of one of the world’s largest candy stores, on the TODAY show.
“It was funny because people would light up at the sight of Dylan and her candy,” she said. “It didn’t matter if it was a 60-year-old or a kid in the room, it was the same reaction. I thought, ‘Franklin needs a candy store!’”
So DeMeyers—who formerly worked in corporate branding—started researching candy. Her concept quickly transformed from the abstract idea formed on Halloween last fall into the mid-century looking space that she opened May 19.
“My vision was always clear: it would be happy. A safe and smiling place, pure and simple,” she said. “I wanted it to be non-generational. Candy brings people to interact in such a joyful way.”
Modern and nostalgic candy is mixed throughout the store, stacked on tables and stashed against walls. While the parents hover over a Grape NeHi, Abba-Zabba or Sky Bar, their children count Jelly Belly flavors, form funny faces with Wax Lips and pump Pucker Powder into tubes.
“We hear as many giggles from the grownups as we do from the kids,” DeMeyers said. “People’s first reaction is, ‘This is so fun!’”
And Honey’s isn’t limited to candy. There are baked goods in a big glass case; inside, homemade cookies, cupcakes and mini-cheesecakes wait. Old-fashioned sodas in glass bottles stand next to the locally made ice cream, where Chaney’s Dairy Farm milkshakes and freshly baked waffle cones are served.
The Honey’s crew even makes simple box lunches for families or friends wanting to picnic in nearby Pinkerton Park, and their freshly squeezed Strawberry Basil Limeade can be made to go, too.
“We call it vintage sweets shop because it’s not just a candy store,” she said. “We have sweet gift items that fit our nostalgic theme, like pop guns and vintage aprons.”
Inside, she’s created a cross between The Jetsons and Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory. Sugary treats spill over tables, hula-hoops suspend from string lights and futuristic tables allow guests to take it all in while the rhythms of Elvis Presley play in the background.
“I wanted it to be a tribute to the ‘60s, a time when family and community were most important,” she said. “I want you to want to do a ‘50s sock hop in the middle of the store.”
DeMeyers said that in the short time the shop has been open, she has seen the sentimental products create conversation between the most unlikely customers.
“A guy from New York City bonded with a man from Georgia, reminiscing about Valomilk. Two perfect strangers taking a trip down memory lane over a wooden coin prize inside,” she said. “Franklin’s a melting pot, and I also wanted Honey’s to reflect that. I think we still represent those old values—a tight community that celebrates together.”
In addition to their retail sales, the confectionary shop has big plans for community events: they hope to hold ice cream socials, an annual Halloween Hop and events to benefit local charities in keeping with their local focus.
To learn more about Honey’s, visit them at their store or go to facebook.com/HoneysVintageSweets.
Store hours are 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. Tuesday through Thursday, 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. Friday and Saturday and 1-7 p.m. on Sundays.