If you grew up in the Midwest, you might remember how someone kept peanut brittle in an old tin container, perhaps replenished every holiday season to last for the months ahead. The sweet-salty combo created a temptation to keep taking each crisp, sticky, bite after bite for another buttery, sugar-filled taste.

Davis Candy Company in downtown Branson brings this memory to life. Visitors to the store can watch how the brittle is made using the original recipes and equipment from when the company first opened in 1911.

“We have two shops—one is open to the public,” Rocky Johnson, owner of Davis Candy says as he pauses from making his latest batch of classic peanut brittle. “We make it right in front of the public.”

The Main Street shop in Branson is 1,500 square feet and has a window to the outside so pedestrians can peek inside to see production. Inside, the sweet-toothed visitors can walk to the retail side to purchase the candy. Another shop, located in Galena, is solely for candy making. Both locations use copper kettles and pots, many that were used at the candy company’s founding. Rocky says each batch is considered a small batch.

“We use a wooden paddle and most of the kettles and pots are one hundred years old,” Rocky says. “We use machinery like the teens and twenties.”

Classic peanut brittle is by far the most popular but a collection of fudge and hand-dipped chocolates can also be irresistible. The company goes back to Joseph, who had been an apprentice at Brownfield-Hubbard Candy Company in Chillicothe, and then founded the Davis company in 1911. It was originally located in Springfield under the name Davis Candy Company Manufacturers of Pure Sweets.

Davis’s son, Paul, took over operations after returning from World War II. Back then it was a wholesale business that made up to eight thousand pounds of candy a day. The family eventually sold the factory and began selling candy on a smaller scale locally.

In the 1960s, Silver Dollar City officials contacted Paul Davis to set up a candy demonstration that would fit with the interactive theme park. Rocky started working there in the summers as a teenager. He began with packaging and stocking duties and worked his way to showing park visitors how to make candy. In 1983, Rocky purchased the business from Paul.

“When I took it over, we started making more things, and I introduced more chocolates,” Rocky says. “I love candy. My wife calls me a 225-pound hummingbird because I am always zooming around something sweet.”

He says he always checks out candy stores whenever he travels for inspiration and to support local businesses.

“Candy making in the way we do it is a dying art,” he says. “You will find people making fudge, but you won’t find too many candy makers like us.”

Davis Candy Company | 110 W Main Street, Branson | DavisPureSweets.com