From Kraft King to Candy Man

Last Updated:July 10, 2024
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From Kraft King to Candy Man From Kraft King to Candy Man
Heart & Soul

Like the tight tug of stretching old-fashioned taffy, the charm of Brown’s Candy Factory pulls folks in again and again. Tim Edwards felt it as a teenager when he told his boss June Ward he’d be back one day—much older—to make candy after he retired.

He was only 16 when she taught him sweet tricks about brittle and fun with fudge.



“Gosh, we were always laughing,” he smiles. “This is where I learned to work hard but still have a good time. It didn’t matter what we were doing, we were going to laugh.”


June took Tim under her wing and promised to teach him a lot about candy and a little about life. When it was time to fly, he promised her he’d return to his candy roots after retirement. He even gave her a countdown clock.

“The clock counted the days until I was 55. I told her I’d be back then. I didn’t quite make it ‘home’ that early,” he laughs.

Tim’s time in the corporate world included an impressive 30-year run with Kraft where he was the Director of Finance over 17 plants. A job like that can be stressful and puts pressure on a person, seven days a week.

“It’s like you’re always tied to your phone. As hard as it was, I carried my candy family with me all those years,” he smiles. “Those lessons of work ethic and joy stayed with me. I realized all those laughs we shared set me up for success because they held life lessons too. Two that stuck with me are that hard work can be fun when you’re around the right folks, and you don’t have to have a title to be a leader. You just need to care.”



Their strong candy connection kept Tim and June in touch through the years. They visited, called, texted and sent Christmas cards. She even named one of his children, Eldon Cole! So —you better believe—he made good on his word to Ward when he recently retired.

“She reached out and asked if I could work just one day a week,” he laughs. “We all know how convincing she can be so I’m actually working two! She hasn’t changed in all these years. She still knows just what to say to lighten the load. There’s enough pain and agony in the world, so you know for certain we still laugh a lot.”

He gets the giggles as he looks at his phone.

“We have a candy family text thread that is really off the rails,” he says as he wipes his eyes from laughing so hard. “We’ve got quite the cast of characters. I just love them!”



He takes a serious pause, though, reflecting on all these years and the sweet mentor who watched him grow up—the candy queen who’s sugar and spice.


“She’s everything nice,” he says softly. “I don’t ever want to picture a world without June Ward in it.”


Another candy keeper:

Tim isn’t the only young candy maker who returned after retirement. Diann Rankin was 22 when her sweet dreams came true at Silver Dollar City. After leaving to get married and raise children, she returned more than 30 years later to her candy family.

“This atmosphere is good for any heart,” she beams. “I was young and dumb back then and had no family in town. I’ll never forget how June looked after me.” Diann returned to the candy shop about a month ago and to the leader who left her laughing.

“June is just as nuts as she ever was,” she giggles. “She hasn’t changed a bit and we all praise God for that.”

Picture of Brandei Clifton

Meet Brandei Clifton

As Public Relations Manager for the Silver Dollar City Company, she is eager to tap into her journalism background to hunt down “heart tugs” to write about—those stories that celebrate…

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