A candy shop throwback with artisanal charm sweetens up Gaslight Alley
JACKSON HOLE, WY – A famous candy man once said, “If you want to view paradise, simply look around and view it. Anything you want to do, do it; want to change the world… there’s nothing to it.”
Willy Wonka isn’t just a man about sweets, he inspired children to follow their dreams and relish in the simple joys of life. Walking into Mursell’s Candy Shop is like walking onto the set of the classic film. Tucked into Gaslight Alley, this recent addition to John Frechette and Christian Burch’s artisanal shops transports you to the past. The brightly colored candies stand out against stark, thickly painted white and black stripes that run along the floor, drawing you into the depths of the candy-filled paradise.
After the death of the shop’s namesake Mursell McLaughlin this spring, Frechette and Burch remodeled the store, but decided to keep the name in remembrance of the longtime owner and chocolatier. One thing they didn’t touch, however, was the kitchen.
“It wasn’t up to code,” explained store manager Sara Nicholson. The kitchen was grandfathered into the spot over 20 years, and the town turned a blind eye to her production of delicious chocolates, fudges and toffees. However, the story was different when ownership changed hands. Instead of pouring copious amounts of money and time into renovations and jumping through hoops to get their kitchen up to code, the team decided to continue in the vein of their other stores. So, Frechette, Burch and Nicholson researched ardently to stock their shelves with the best of the best from around the world.
“Our truffles come from Glacier, a store in Tulsa, Oklahoma,” explained Nicholson. (A portion of that store’s profits are donated to American veterans.)
When McLaughlin gave them chocolate from the shop for Christmas, Burch and Frechette fell for the scrumptious treats and eventually decided they had to be featured in their new shop. Their flavors are unique, including a delicious watermelon-feta truffle and huckleberry truffle made just for Mursell’s.
Owners of MADE and Mountain Dandy, Frechette and Burch’s taste is rooted in unique, hip goods. This new endeavor has been an opportunity for them to marry their tastes with flavor. Between artfully decorated and manufactured OmNom chocolate bars from Iceland, and Tony’s Chocolonely, whose chocolates are fair trade and ethically made, the shop is filled with unique brands that you’ve likely never seen or heard of before.
“It’s been a lot of fun,” Frechette said, “going to research and source for the shop has been, well, a treat.”
Their house-packaged chocolates and candies are sourced from Albanie’s in Indiana. They make everything from peanut clusters to gummy bears to chocolate-covered cookie dough balls and licorice.
Other unique treats include cotton candy (with flavors like pina colada) from Oakland, California, and fudge from Utah. They even carry sodas from Brooklyn, New York, to sweet, effervescent beverages from across the pond in France.
Given Jackson’s perennial expansion, it’s refreshing to see an old favorite with new vigor.