Indiana Candy Shop Founded by Greek Immigrant Celebrating Centennial

The Martinsville Candy Kitchen was founded in 1919 by Greek immigrant Jimmy Zapapas. Photo: Facebook/Martinsville candy kitchen

INDIANAPOLIS, IN – When a Greek expatriate opened a handmade sweets shop in Martinsville, Morgan County, at the end of the second decade of the 20th century, he himself would not have imagined that at the end of the second decade of the next century it would still remain open and thriving.

Martinsville Candy Kitchen is one of the landmarks of this small town in Indiana, and the store is one of the few remaining in the country that continues to sell handmade sweets.

While the owners have changed and the store moved a few meters further on Main Street, nothing else has changed, says the Indianapolis Star newspaper. Now, the owners are preparing to celebrate a century in business in April 2019.

The aesthetic is retro and the shop continues to sell candies and ice cream, maintaining its tradition. While the candy is made, the intense scent of the flavors fills the shop, with peppermint for the candy canes during the Christmas season, especially intense.

John Badger XIV and his wife, Pam, bought the store in 2004, inheriting from his predecessors the recipes, the techniques, and the equipment that has been passed down to all the owners, from the original owner, Greek immigrant Jimmy Zapapas, who opened the store in 1919.

Zapapas’ cousin, who had covered the costs of his immigration to the United States, had a similar store in Franklin at that time. Both men were taught by a candy maker in St. Louis, Missouri, before moving to Indiana, as noted the Visit Morgan County Indiana website, visitmorgancountyin.com.

The Badgers turned the store into a family business, putting the children and grandchildren to work. While the store sells a variety of candies, candy canes are the trademark of the business. Visitors can also watch the production process at certain times and get a free sample of the fresh candy canes.

According to Indy Star, “The shop produces 600 candy canes a night and is set to break its record of 38,100 candy canes made in a year.”

More information about Martinsville Candy Kitchen is available on Facebook.