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Your Stories: The Hamletts

7:48 PM, Feb 13, 2013   |    comments
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  • Thursday is Valentine's Day so in this week's Your Stories we focus on love, the love of one couple, their family and chocolate.

    Layers of caramel, rolled out and sliced into the perfect bite-sized squares-- it's a pretty sweet job, one that Bradley Hamlett has had for more than two decades. 

    "Words cannot really describe what we feel. We are blessed beyond measure," says Bradley Hamlett.

    Bradley Hamlett worked at a chocolate shop in high school and college growing up in Florida. "It's the American way. I took what I learned at another business and applied it to a new one and they were great people, very supportive and it worked out for the best," says Bradley.

    Bradley moved here and opened Bradleys, which eventually brought Joy into the picture. Joy had a retail background herself.

    "My family had a business in their basement. We had a consignment shop so my dad would sell women's clothing and costume jewelry and perfume and toys and all kinds of fun stuff," says Joy Hamlett.

    She worked in merchandising at the shop next door to Bradley's. "I would go there like everyday on break times and after work for chocolate. Everybody would be like, 'Where's Joy? Where's Joy.' And they would be like, 'I think she's at the chocolate store again,'" says Joy.

    "She paid for something one time and that was it," says Bradley.

    "At that time we didn't have all the equipment and machines the we have now and he would hand temper all of this chocolate. He would pour warm liquid chocolate out of a bowl and would be dipping caramels by hand. I'm like how do you not fall in love with that guy?" says Joy.

    They got married, started a family and grew their business. "2012 was a huge year for us. We had our second child in June and he's amazing and he was born right in the middle of when we were working on the expansion of Bradley's," says Joy.

    And then they bought the South's Finest Chocolate Factory in September, now just called The Chocolate Factory.

    "It's been a whirlwind of a year, exhausting, terrifying, joyful, we've run the gamut of emotions," says Bradley.

    But one emotion is always there with Bradley and Joy, love.

    "Joy changed my life," says Bradley. "There's many times when I wake up in the morning and think how did I get this person," says Bradley.

    "He's an amazing man and he makes delicious chocolate," says Joy.

    And together they both love their customers

    "We have people come in and tell us, 'This is our happy place,' the place they come to when they are not having a great day," says Bradley.

    And they love their community.

    "There is just a sweet atmosphere here in this town, a reverence for God, a love of your neighbor and it's just hard to find when you go anywhere else. It's a sweet town and I love it," says Joy.

    Chocolate is always a priority for this couple and who doesn't love that?

    The Hamletts. One of Your Stories. There's no place like this one.

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