KNOXVILLE (WATE) - Have you ever searched for something different than flowers or balloons to send a friend or loved one?
At Candy Blast in West Knox County, you'll find candy in just about every room, and chances are they have one of your favorites.
Owner Yvonne Marsh took us on a tour and explained how it started. "I was an accountant for 10 years, and I wanted a business to run from home," she said.
Marsh started Candy Blast more than eight years ago.
She did work from home for the first few years. "I was up to three employees and still working out of my home, and at that point we were storing boxes in my daughter's bedroom. I thought, we really need to move this out of the house."
Candy Blast is now located off Interstate 40's Lovell Road exit at 10427 Cogdill Road, but it's not your typical local business.
"It is really not local at all," Marsh said. "Most people in Knoxville don't even know we are here.
"My first order came from Virginia," she added. "From the very beginning, I could see business was on the Internet."
Despite increasing out-of-state orders, Marsh says she kept thinking demand would wear off. It never did.
Now along with the classic birthday and smile-themed gifts, you'll also find some new creations.
There's a coffee and chocolate gift called the "brew-ha-ha." Candy Blast makes get-well gifts complete with their original chocolate-molded Band-aids and games.
And of course, they're busy getting ready for Halloween. "If you just want to send a little Halloween, but you don't want to break the bank, we have a wide range of sizes and styles," Marsh explained as she showed off some of her favorites.
To build one of their creations takes anywhere from 30 minutes to an hour. A climate-controlled room stores candy onsite.
There's also a room where each piece is individually attached to floral sticks. And of course in the assembly area, each gift is modeled after the exact picture you see online.
Candy Blast goes through thousands of pieces of candy a week.
While other businesses slow down in the summer due to the hazards of shipping candy in the heat, Marsh uses special insulation and cold packs for chocolates.
She has another option for customers as well. "We have also developed in the past few years the ability to make it with all fruity, non-melting candy so if they want to ship to California, we will make it with all non-melting candy."
Candy Blast will usually make two of each item at a time so there are products in stock in case you want to walk-in and purchase something.
The company also does corporate gifts complete with special candy bar labels bearing your company's name and logo and special colors to match any business' theme.
Marsh has created gifts for several big companies, including Tommy Hilfiger.