Cafe Society

A New Book on Hammond's Candies is a Sweet Trip into Denver's Past

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Hammond's Candies opened in 1920, at a time when candy making was a popular but over-saturated industry. "It was a business that many entered, and they found, to their chagrin, that the rate of failure verged on the astronomical," author Mary Treacy Thompson writes, adding that from 1926 to 1939, the number of confectionery and ice-cream manufactures in Colorado went from 72 to eighteen.

But Hammond's founder, Carl Hammond, Sr., used other businesses' failures to his advantage: he rarely purchased a new piece of equipment, instead buying pieces from liquidating companies. Moves like this, along with his refusal to use debt to grow the business, helped Hammond's live on through numerous economic downturns, until it was sold to another family in 2007.

Thompson (who goes by "Corky") said she wanted to write about Hammond's because of her own memories of visiting there with her grandchildren. Thompson grew up in New York, but moved to Colorado in 2003. She's dabbled in writing her entire life, but with with her family grown up, she wanted to broaden her scope. She's written two books: a soon-to-be-released biography called Rainbows in Puddles about a man who overcame an abusive childhood, and a children's book called Moving Van Christmas, which she self-published on Amazon. When a friend told her about the History Press, which publishes historical stories from around the country, she called and asked what they needed. When the publisher mentioned Hammond's Candies, Thompson was sold.

She spent months meeting with all of the members of the Hammond family she could round up; Thompson suspected some didn't wish to speak with her because they weren't involved in the business or thought she was using the company to make money, which she laughed about, mentioning that the book's production was definitely more of a labor of love, considering the royalties she'll likely receive.

Continue reading for more on the Hammond's Candies family.

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Kristin Pazulski has been a renaissance faire wench, a reporter, an espresso-shot slinger, an editor of a newspaper for the homeless and a grant writer. She's now a freelance writer covering Denver's restaurant scene.
Contact: Kristin Pazulski