James' Original de Luxe Confections
James Candy And The Atlantic City Boardwalk, A Legacy Remembered
The Atlantic City boardwalk is a timeless treasure loved by all across the country. The wooden planks are worn in by decades of history and memories. They’ve been walked on by legendary musicians and movie stars. They’ve seen first dates and first kisses. They even remember the start of it all when dreamers and visionaries saw the potential and flocked there to pursue their dreams and open their own businesses.
They were the ones that shaped it into what it is today.
The people and businesses that got their start there would either sink or float. Those who were able to float stayed afloat. Some became legacies. Legacies that would withstand the test of time --- legacies such as that of Enoch James.
James, an American entrepreneur, was one of the many confectioners who saw an opportunity and jumped on the salt water taffy craze at its peak. And what better place to make and sell the iconic candy than the birthplace of salt water taffy itself?
According to the origin story of salty water taffy, a popular candy shop on the boardwalk flooded after a major storm in the 1880s. Shortly after the storm, a young girl asked the shop owner if there was any taffy for sale. Since his stock had been drowned by the ocean water, he jokingly said something along the lines of “only salt water taffy.” The rest is history.
James relocated his family to Atlantic City and spent years working on his recipe and perfecting it. Though he had tough competition with popular rivals such as Fralingers, James was a revolutionist and he found his own creative ways to separate his taffy from the others.
Standing apart from his competition, James gave his taffy a soft and smooth texture and cut it into bite-sized pieces which was unlike any other taffy at the time. It was also the first taffy that didn’t stick to the wrapper which made it much more desirable and easier to enjoy. James, being the revolutionist, found machines that pulled and cut the candy and would forever change the taffy-making and manufacturing process.
Although his taffy was what he widely became known for, he kept his customers coming back for more by introducing new candies such as chocolates, coconut macaroons, and delicious varieties of fudge. The businessman that he was, he decided to offer the service of individually wrapping and packaging the candies and goods to ship to his customers across the country.
Today, James’ vision and work have been preserved with such care --- all it takes is one bite to make you feel like you’re transported back to the early days of strolling down the boardwalk.