Xanterra And Hammond’s Candies Collaborate To Open Vintage Candy Shop At Grand Canyon Railway; More To Come In Other Locations

Two Denver-based companies are teaming up to open old-style candy stores at locations throughout the West. Xanterra Parks & Resorts and Hammond’s Candies have established one store and intend to expand upon their new relationship to open more stores in other Xanterra locations.

The first of the candy stores – “Hammond’s at the Depot” inside Grand Canyon Railway’s depot in Williams, Ariz. – opened Sept. 29, 2012. The 200-square-foot store-within-a-store concept features a wide variety of Hammond’s Candies’ specialty items as well as bulk candies.

“It just seems that our ‘vintage’ candy shop belongs here in our historic depot,” said Bill Bub, Xanterra’s vice president, retail. “People come to Grand Canyon Railway to enjoy a nostalgic experience and the store, like the train, helps bring back a couple of simpler pleasures from simpler times. Every time I walk in the store I feel like I’m in a Norman Rockwell painting.”

Grand Canyon Railway began selling Hammond’s candy canes during its Polar Express runs in past years. The hand-crooked canes which are available in 24 flavors proved so popular that the dedicated candy store was opened.

“With our Polar Express runs in full swing, the candy canes are very popular with the kids,” said Bub. “And we have also noticed the adults making plenty of ‘nostalgia’ purchases such as flat taffy or lollipops.”

Hammond’s Candies has been producing candy since 1920 when Carl T. Hammond, Sr. founded the company in Denver. Its lineup of candy includes a variety of ribbon candy, lemon drops, root beer barrels and its signature “Mitchell Sweet,” a bite-sized, soft marshmallow surrounded by succulent caramel.

With a legacy that dates back to the 1870s, Xanterra operates lodges, restaurants, gift stores and other concessions in state and national parks as well as Kingsmill Resort, Windstar Cruises and Grand Canyon Railway. Xanterra purchased the legendary Fred Harvey Company in 1968. Fred Harvey was a restaurateur who worked closely with the Atchison, Topeka and Santa Fe Railway to open the American West to tourism. The railway provided the transportation, and Harvey provided the hospitality at his famed “Harvey Houses.”

Among the stops in the West was the Fray Marcos Hotel in Williams. Beginning in 1901, visitors could stop there and catch a railroad spur that would take them directly to the Grand Canyon. The Santa Fe Railway operated this train until 1968 when it ceased operation. An enterprising couple – Max and Thelma Biegert – brought the railway back to life in 1984, and Xanterra purchased Grand Canyon Railway in 2007, thus reuniting the train with its Fred Harvey roots.

The Grand Canyon Railway Hotel is comprised of 199 standard rooms, 87 deluxe rooms, 10 suites and one luxury suite – the Rail Baron Suite – as well as a spacious meeting room available for wedding receptions, seminars and other functions; a large courtyard with barbecue and wet bar; a game room for children; a large enclosed crescent-shaped pool, hot tub and an exercise room.

Grand Canyon Railway is an authorized concessioner of the National Park Service and the U.S. Forest Service. For more information, www.thetrain.com or call 1-800-THE-TRAIN (1-800-843-8724).

Grand Canyon Railway is operated by Xanterra Parks & Resorts.