A new business and a longtime event in Denton picked up top honors at the annual Texas Downtown Development and Revitalization Conference.
Atomic Candy won for best interior and Thursday Twilight Tunes won for best promotional event at the President’s Award Gala last week in Wichita Falls.
The Texas Downtown Association played host to the conference.
“We are still in shock,” said Tim Loyd, owner of Atomic Candy, which is located on Hickory Street on the Square.
Loyd said he cashed in his 401k fund and his savings to make his business a reality.
“With my girlfriend [Alli Chesser], we spent many nights here painting for hours,” he said.
In three months, he turned an old building into an eclectic business that features all kinds of candy and related items.
“I think Atomic Candy is so unusual, and they have cool things,” said Julie Glover, Denton’s economic development program administrator. “Every week I go there, he finds something else to put in his business.”
Old things are new at Atomic Candy, which is known for the many items it recycles such as old soda crates that are now used as candy bins and shelves. Other items include an old Coke machine and old grocery scales where customers can weigh their purchases. The retro-style neon sign also has made the business stand out from others on the Square.
For the award, Atomic Candy competed against a department store from Carlisle.
Downtown association officials said in a news release that Atomic Candy won because “it was very successful in repurposing materials for merchandising purposes and that the unique interior design drew people in from the street.”
“We have been open 11 months now, and we were up against big-timers,” Loyd said. “This is just pretty good for the little guy that did not have a lot of money to put in the store, or a lot of help.”
The association also recognized Thursday Twilight Tunes, a downtown concert series that has been conducted in May and June since 1994.
Glover, who organized the event, said that in the early years, 20 people attending a concert was considered a good turnout.
Now the event averages more than 800 attendees. People can follow the concert series through both the Denton Main Street Association and city of Denton Facebook and Twitter pages.
Downtown association officials said the judges were impressed by the growth of the event and for its ability to “reinvent itself.”
The association also noted the event contributed to the city’s community development efforts.
The Georgetown Swirl also received the best promotional event award.
Denton officials also nominated Mellow Mushroom in the best renovation/rehabilitation project category as well as Jack Bell’s Victoria Station Apartments for best new construction.
Neither one made it to the finals, which Glover said was a surprise.
Last year, the four-day walkable festival, 35 Denton, won in the promotions category.
Overall, the city has received at least 30 awards from the association since the program’s inception in 1998, Glover said.
KARINA RAMÍREZ can be reached at 940-566-6878. Her e-mail address is firstname.lastname@example.org .