My “niece” Jenni was in town, visiting from Iowa. (I say “niece” because I am an only child, so I adopted all my friends’ kids as my nieces and nephews. But when Larry and I got married, I instantly inherited 18 nieces and nephews. So now, we have a very large extended family that includes everyone). Jenni was here for a funeral and was only in town for a quick bit, but we still managed to have a great day together, and toured all around Denver.
The day started off with pouring rains, but they soon stopped and the day was actually very pleasantly cool. I picked Jenni up around 8:30 in the morning and our first stop was at the Early Bird for Breakfast. The Early Bird We thoroughly enjoyed our delicious breakfast and had a great time catching up.
After breakfast we decided to take a tour of Hammond’s Candy Factory in Denver. Neither one of us had ever been there before, so it was something different to do. We both found it very informative and interesting and it is now going to be something on my “tour guide list” for other visitors who come to town.
The tours are free and are available from 9-4 everyday except Sunday. They recommend making reservations to guarantee a spot on the tour, but we just walked in and didn’t have any problems getting on the tour we wanted.
Before the tour started, we had a few minutes to look around and shop.
At Hammond’s, it’s all about the candy and making life just a little sweeter.
Even the floors are layered in candy.
Hammond’s has been in business, making a variety of hard candies, lollipops, popcorn and chocolate confections since 1920. Carl T. Hammond, Sr. opened Hammond’s Candy Factory in Denver with a commitment to quality. Carl Hammond, Sr. was a Denver native, and started his candy making career in 1913. After several years in the candy making business, working for other confectioners, Carl started his own candy making business in 1920.
Candy canes and hard candies of all flavors are the main focus of Hammond’s, though they have branched out to make many other types of sweet treats over the years as well.
During his first few years in business, Carl T. Hammond, St. did it all: He developed recipes, made candy, sold candy, and served as his own office staff. Eventually, he hired someone to manage the store while he traveled the West, selling Hammond’s Candy to other stores. While the Great Depression brought many challenges for businesses, Hammond’s Candy Company remained profitable. Even during the extremely trying times, people could usually find enough money for the simple, sweet treat of candy. But Carl knew that in order to keep customers, the candy had to be good. His motto was, “Nothing is more important than quality,” and it was his focus on quality that kept Hammond’s modest factory open and thriving throughout the Great Depression.
Hammond’s was still a family owned and operated business until 1985, when Carl (Tom) Jr., who took over the business in 1966, after the death of Carl, Sr., passed away. However, it is no longer owned by the Hammond family, Hammond’s Candy Factory is still operated as a family owned business. They still use the original candy making machines they used when they first opened the store, over 100 years ago. But even more surprising is that these machines were already used when they were purchased, so they are even older. Parts are hard to find, but somehow, Hammond’s makes it all work and has a very successful business. They are now internationally known for their fantastic, handmade, hand-crafted candies.
The tour started with a brief little video telling the Hammond’s story. After the video, we went inside the factory and saw all the workers hard at work, creating their confectionary magic. Hammond’s goes through 2500 lbs of sugar every single day, creating 4000 lbs of candy everyday. And everyday is always a little different.
The candy is made in large copper kettles and is boiled until it reaches 324* F then poured out onto a cooled table where it is molded and formed. This I personally know from way back when, when I was making candies for the Rocky Mountain Chocolate Factory, also a Colorado company, when I first moved up to San Francisco, many moons ago.
They were making peppermint and chocolate stuffed peppermint this time, but tomorrow, the will be making another flavor. All the candies and confections are made by hand, everyday. Each one of these candy “logs” is about 100 lbs and it is all hand cut and hand rolled. The scissors they use to cut the candy weigh 2 lbs each. No doubt about it, candy makers, especially these candy makers, are very strong indeed. The factory is temperature controlled and these huge white tubes on the ceiling help remove the moisture, making sure the candies don’t harden too fast or crack.
After the tour concluded, we were released back into the candy store once again, to purchase all the handmade goodies we just saw being created.
Hammond’s Candy Factory is located at 5735 No. Washington Street, Denver, CO. You can call them at (303) 333-5588, or visit them online at hammondscandies.com. Reservations for the tour are not mandatory, but are suggested, especially at peak tourist times. This is a fun family tour that everyone will enjoy.
This was a fun, new experience for both Jenni and I, with a very happy, sweet ending too. But we were just getting started with our day’s fun and adventures. More to come about our next stop later. Stay tuned. Don’t touch that dial. 🙂
Have a SWEET day and make the most out of everyday. Stay safe and stay well Everyone. ‘Til next time.