For many customers who venture inside Emmy's Sweet Shoppe in Old Town Spring, a trip to the candy store is a reminder of simpler times and mouthwatering memories.
"We always tell customers, 'If you want candy, go to Wal-Mart, but if you want memories, you come here,'" owner Dan Jackson said.
Jackson and his wife, Catherine, bought the store in 2004. The third owners of the shop, which first opened in 1992, Jackson said he kept the name Emmy's, named for the original owner's granddaughter. However, the Jacksons made other changes to the store, swapping much of the inventory for treats and sweets from the '20s through the '70s.
"I envisioned trying to bring back the old style and carrying merchandise that related to early [times], everything from the early '20s up to the '70s," Jackson said. "Most of our customers are in their 30s or 40s, and they come in and say, 'Oh, I remember this when I was a kid.'"
The shop features dozens of different sweets, including Texas-sized peanut butter cups, saltwater taffy and various chocolate-covered treats. Emmy's even offers sugar plums, a customer favorite that began as a holiday treat and became the shop's signature sweet, Jackson said.
Not just a sweets shop, Emmy's provides various gift items in addition to a wide variety of gourmet coffee beans and loose-leaf teas. Jackson said he even grinds the coffee for customers.
"For us to survive, we not only have to be people-oriented, but we have to have customer service," he said. "We try to make it like when you walk into your mother's house or your family's house."
Although many of the store's customers are return shoppers, Jackson said the store sees many customers from all over the world, including Japan, Germany and Russia. He said the store even ships products overseas, but Emmy's does not offer online ordering. Much like the shop itself, Emmy's customer service harkens back to an older time for consumers.
"It's like calling up the general store back in the day and saying, 'I want to place an order,'" he said. "People seem to appreciate that personal, engaged touch."
The Jacksons found Emmy's Sweet Shoppe on a trip to Old Town Spring more than a decade ago. Jackson had just retired as an Army Major in 2004, and they were looking for a business to run.
Jackson—who served in Vietnam and Germany in the '70s—said he met his wife, now a retired Air Force Colonel, at Fort Richardson in Alaska in the early '90s. Given a choice of where to transfer years later, the couple chose Texas.
The veterans still serve their community, Jackson said, as he participates in living history events throughout the state with his German shephard Chrissy, the shop's ambassador. He and his wife also try to give back to local charities.
"You've got to pay the bills," Jackson said. "But if you focus on just one aspect in business you miss the mark. The people will make your business, and you've got to make that connection with the people."
Emmy's Sweet Shoppe sells a variety of treats, sweets and gift items, including:
- Champagne bubbles
- Chocolate-covered sunflower seeds
- Coffee beans (11 different flavors)
- Fudge (seven different flavors)
- Loose-leaf tea (12 different flavors)
- Myrtles and peanut butter cups
- Old-fashioned candy bars
- Sugar plums
315 Gentry St., Ste. 3A
Hours: Tue.–Sat. 11 a.m.–5 p.m.,
Sun. 1–5 p.m., closed Mondays