As both a chemist and a cook, Desiree Hulsey has the ideal skill set for a candymaker.
Her bath and body product business, Pampered Pegasus, slowed to a halt when the seven stores that sold her products closed due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Containers and ingredients she used became too expensive or unavailable as people started hoarding them at the start of the pandemic, Hulsey said, forcing her to come up with a new way to make a living.
"We lost our business like other small-business owners, but we had to rebuild," Hulsey said of herself and her boyfriend Randy Serpas, who helps her set up at events and deliver and taste the products.
In July she launched Magic Wand Candy Co., selling made-from-scratch cotton candy, candy apples, fudge and all sorts of candy-covered goodies at farmers markets and small events.
Hulsey started with 10 flavors of cotton candy and now has more than 60, ranging from bourbon and pickle to "monkey business" (a blend of strawberry and banana) and "mermaid hair" (coconut) to old favorites like cherry and blueberry. She even does organic cotton candy, which is flavored with dried fruit rather than artificial flavoring.
Not a fan of cotton candy? Magic Candy Co. also makes candy apples in the same 60-plus flavors.
Other unique offerings include half-pound hand-size gummy bears, which Hulsey makes with plant-based agar powder rather than animal-sourced gelatin.
Bourbon, pickle and 'monkey business': Ringgold, Georgia's Magic Wand Co. offers dozens of unique flavors
Magic Wand Candy Co.'s storefront is set to open this month in Ringgold, where Hulsey's rotating daily offerings will include 20 flavors of fudge and a dozen candy apple flavors along with a variety of samples.
"It's going to be fun and magical," she said. "If you're having a bad day, come get some candy and we'll sit and chat about it. A lot of things are going on, and this is going to be a happy place."
In addition to selling at events and from the store, Magic Wand products can be purchased online and shipped anywhere in Georgia. Hulsey also plans to partner with Grubhub to deliver her products locally.
She plans to add saltwater taffy to her offerings soon, along with holiday candy flavors such as eggnog and peppermint. Eventually, she hopes to add more novelty items such as cotton candy cakes and burritos, and chocolate "unicorn poop."
Hulsey said she feels it's important to give back to the community, which she did with Pampered Pegasus by donating a portion of proceeds to Sleep in Heavenly Peace, which supplies beds to children in need.
Once the candy business has been open for awhile, she said she plans to start a community refrigerator at the store containing items such as milk and cheese that anyone in need is welcome to take.
"If you're hungry, I'm going to feed you," Hulsey said. "All we're here for is to be happy, spread love and just be kind."
Magic Wand Candy Co. is at 145 Liberty Lane in Ringgold and can be reached at 423-254-0884. For more information and updates on the business's opening, visit facebook.com/magicwandcandyco.
Contact Emily Crisman at email@example.com or 423-757-6508. Follow her on Twitter @emcrisman.