Our Story

A Brief history of River Street Sweets

Founded in 1973 on Savannah’s historic waterfront, River Street Sweets is the city’s oldest candy store, today owned and operated by siblings Jennifer and Tim Strickland. The legacy began with The Cotton Bale, a Christmas gift shop started by their grandmother Georgia Nash, mother Pam Strickland and father Stan Strickland. At the time, River Street wasn’t the bustling area of activity and tourists it is today, and with expensive rent that reflected the times – $50 – the family struggled at first. But all it took was the stumbling curiosity of a young Tim at an Atlanta gift show and two fudge pots purchased from Calico Cottage’s Larry Wurzel to turn their fates around. A few weeks later, following her father’s instructions, Jennifer made the first batch of fudge, a mint chocolate chip flavor they sold on St. Patrick’s Day.

The fudge was an instant hit, so the Strickland’s began experimenting with old family dessert recipes as well as newer ones back at home. A Southern Living cookbook in hand, Pam read out a praline recipe to Stan who manned the stovetop and tinkered with the ingredients – fresh Georgia pecans, cream, butter and sugar.


Once the praline recipe was finalized and approved by taste-testers Jennifer and Tim, it was time to try it out in the store. The fudge pots were modified into praline pots, marble slabs were purchased from a local tombstone company for the candy makers to hand scoop the pralines on to, and the Strickland’s began making pralines. Except when Stan made the first batch, he didn’t realize the marble slab was supposed to be buttered. The slab cracked and the pralines crumbled into small pieces, which prompted Stan to give the small bits away to guests as samples – a tradition that continues today.

The pralines were an immediate success and remain the top selling treat. Other delicacies followed, and the little candy store grew into the iconic business it is today. When guests visit a River Street Sweets retail location, they are exposed to a unique and interactive culinary delight. The candy and other treats are prepared in open air kitchens so guests have a full sensory experience as they see the sweets being made; smell the candy as it cooks; hear the delightful chatter of guests and candymakers in action and finally, feel and taste the wonder of it all in one sweet bite.


In 2015, after numerous requests, the Strickland family began sharing their candy making traditions and experience by offering franchise opportunities. Currently, there are seven franchises operating in Pooler, GA; Atlanta, GA (The Battery); Key West and Kissimmee, FL; Lancaster, PA, Greenville, SC, and Asbury Park, NJ. Company owned locations include three stores in Savannah, GA; two in Charleston, SC; Myrtle Beach, SC and Sarasota, FL.


In 2023, River Street Sweets commemorated their 50th anniversary with numerous accolades, including being featured in Southern Living and Garden and Gun magazines. Previously, Entrepreneur.com also named River Street Sweets as the “Second Best Candy Franchise in the Country.”


As the brand has grown, so has the company’s commitment to give back. In honor of their 50th anniversary and commitment to philanthropy, the company donated $14,551 to Kids Café, an initiative by Feeding America, the largest charity working to end hunger in the Unites States. They also celebrated National Praline Day with a Willy Wonka style Golden Ticket “sweet-stakes” in which the winners received a free trip to Savannah and a tour of the waterfront’s flagship store.


Now, after a half-century in business of serving some of the most delicious treats in the country, River Street Sweets is proud to continue the tradition of making guests happy, comfortable, and satisfied. Moving forward, the plan is to bring the River Street Sweets tradition to cities across the country with as many as 20 additional locations planned within the next five years. Life is sweet!


Tim and Jennifer with candy apple and pralines

We love to see the joy...

Candy makes us happy, and even more so when we see the joy visiting one of our stores brings to our guests. Coming here is like a momentary flash back in time to a simpler day where you can let your worries fall by the wayside. Lose yourself amidst the wonderful aroma of fresh Pralines, gooey caramel and candy apples, or sweet salt water taffy. It's pure happiness to experience, and we are proud to be able to be a part of it!

Strickland and Nash full family photo

Generations of Candy Family!

From Mrs. Georgia Nash and daughter, Mrs. Pam Strickland, to her two children, Tim and Jennifer and the up and coming candy makers and business professionals in their children, There's over 100 combined years of candy making experience that makes this a SWEET family!