Cotton Candy Cloud Nine


Across from the Corn Palace, there is a sweet portal to the past customers are eating up.  Jesse’s Candy Clouds is a cotton candy store, which opened in Mitchell a little more than a month ago.  Tourists line up every day to get their hands on the sugary confection.  The owners say there is a good reason why people have an appetite for their business. 

Fluff is a cotton candy maker’s forte.  No nutrition to fill up on, but that is ok.  After all, who isn’t on cloud nine when they have a taste. 

“Every kid just loves sugar and candy,” Jesse Taylor, owner said.

The same goes for anyone who wants to be a kid again. 

Brady: “What’s your favorite flavor?”
Delphine Becker: “Bubblegum.”
Brady: “What’s your favorite memory of cotton candy?”            
Delphine: “Every carnival.  We never had shops like this, so this is fabulous.”

“I think what makes people happy when they come into our store is the experience,” Edward Clark said. 

“Most places, when you go to get cotton candy, it’s already in the bag.  You know, you’re just getting it.  Here, you can actually step on a stool and watch,” Taylor said.

Jesse’s Candy Clouds is something to see in Mitchell.  Taylor and his partner, Clark, didn’t just spin their business out of thin air.  Actually, a key ingredient to this recipe for success started with a joke. 

“When I was a kid, I’d always ask for a cotton candy machine for Christmas,” Taylor said.

Thanks to mom and dad — after years of toy machines — Taylor finally found an industrial-sized cotton candy machine under the tree.  By the way, he was 22.

“A little too old to be getting a cotton candy machine for Christmas,” Taylor said, laughing. 

Taylor figured out how to put the gadget to good use as an adult.  What he did with it can be traced back to part of his childhood. 

“My older sister started playing basketball.  Once she started, I started.  So, I would say two or three years old,” Taylor said. 

That early love for basketball led him to play the sport through college at Dakota Wesleyan University.  Eventually, that helped him meet rival jock Edward Clark at Dakota State University. 

“I did track and field in college and then in high school I did basketball, football, pretty much all of them,” Clark said. 

The athletic backgrounds of these hometown guys — Taylor from Kimball, Clark from Baltic — inspired them to use the machine and sell cotton candy at area athletic events.

Word spread, popularity grew, and now their store is in a prime tourist destination. 
So far, working together in the candy business has not soured their relationship. 

“That sort of business aspect in our relationship is what makes our business so positive for us as a couple.  Because wherever we talk about the business, it’s always something positive,” Clark said. 

“It’s been very nice.  We can go home at night and talk about ideas we’d like to do with our store,” Taylor said. 

No matter how many ideas Taylor and Clark hatch at home, the main goal for the store never changes: bring joy to South Dakota communities.

“The little kids are happy, parents are happy.  It’s fun to be able to do that with family,” Clark said. 

“We’re proud of that.  You know, some people have bad days.  But, once they see the cotton candy, they’re in a great mood.  They can’t help but smile even though their day isn’t going as well as they’d hoped,” Taylor said.  

It may be a bunch of fluff, but isn’t it amazing how a couple of cotton candy makers can fill someone up with a little bit of happiness?

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