Some 70 years of candy making equipment is among the items for sale at a location full of "sweet" deals.
The family of the couple who once owned and operated the Saxon's Candy Shops and Restaurants throughout the south kicked off the first of a two-day estate sale on Friday, with antiques and store equipment once used by the candymaker.
Among the items for sale: gas burners, once used to heat copper kettles full of chocolate; cash registers; large, metal credit card signs that once hung in front of the Saxon's headquarters and flagship store in Wellington; and various utensils and other kitchen items used in Saxon's stores.
Rebecca Dinstuhl is the granddaughter of the couple who founded the Saxon's empire, Henry and Cora Saxon. She said "the time has come" to sell the property, which includes the former Saxon's headquarters on Highway 431 in Wellington.
Saxon's began as a mail order business in the early 1940s. By the 1950s and '60's, the familiar Saxon's sign popped up on roadways throughout Alabama, as well as parts of Georgia and Tennessee, often luring tourists from all over the country who were headed to Florida.
Quite a few of those stores were located in the Birmingham area, and Saxon's candy was also sold at a number of hotel gift shops. The Saxon's headquarters eventually moved a short distance to a bigger building in Wellington in 1966, and that's the building where the estate sale was held.
"They would stop at Saxon's, and buy candy and gifts and eat at the restaurants," she recalled. "Everything was hand-made right here in Wellington, Alabama for so many years."
The Saxons were just starting to franchise restaurants with an A-frame corporate architecture—one of those still stands at the Riverside exit off I-20, in fact—when Henry Saxon was killed in a car accident in 1968.
After that, Saxon's evolved into a mail-order business, finally sending out its final shipments of pralines and nut logs in 1988.
Cora Saxon died in 2010 at the age of 102. In addition to the items from the Saxon's stores, some of her own belongings, including antiques she collected, are also being sold.
However, a great-grandson of the Saxon family still makes candy at a shop in Memphis, using recipes that are "somewhat similar," but not identical, to the ones used by Saxon's during the years of baby-boomer roadside travel.
Some of that candy was available to buyers at the estate sale, just next to some registers set up just for the sale. It was the first time in 25 years candy had been sold in the building, which the family has leased out as an antique store and later, a church.
"We are excited to be able to open our doors and share these things with our neighbors," Dinstuhl said.
The Saxon's Estate Sale continues Saturday, Aug. 24 from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the former Saxon's headquarters on Highway 431 in the Calhoun County community of Wellington.
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