Written by Jim Murphy | Photos by Evan Anderson
After Three Generations of Chocolatiers, the Baxley’s Set Up Shop in Sylva
Main Street in Sylva presents an appealing image of Norman Rockwell Americana, with two details that set it apart from our hectic times: It is a one-way street, and it has no parking meters. The tallest structure is the steeple of the First Baptist Church, towering over its neighbors in side-by-side two-story storefronts of vintage red brick, which has darkened to a warm brown over the decades. The signs hanging from their facades announce such establishments as the Music Emporium, Sassy Frass Consignment, Farmhouse Mercantile and Coffee Bar, and the Sylva Herald (publishing and printing). This is a mom-and-pop neighborhood without a national chain store in sight. Even the name evokes a certain nostalgic feeling: Main Street, USA.
Among the merchants dotting this throwback road is, of course, a chocolate shop. With a sandwich board on the sidewalk calling out to customers, Baxley’s Chocolates fits the quaint Main Street vibe. And inside, the shop offers a nod to those olden days. An early 20th century wood-frame display counter stands to one side. “We found it in the back room when we moved in, and we decided to use it,” chocolatier Steve Baxley says. The old case displays equally old, brightly lithographed tin boxes, showing scenes of country living long ago; vintage chocolate molds; a Mr. Peanut jar, and more artifacts that stretch long memories. Hanging on the back wall is a large wooden sign announcing, “Baxley’s Chocolates – Crafting Sweet Memories.” Sweet memories, indeed.
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