Southern Spotlight: Sweet Dreams

Southern Spotlight: Sweet DreamsKentucky chocolatier celebrates the enterprising spirit behind a generations-old family business.

In 1919, a time when careers for women were limited, best friends Ruth Hanly Booe and Rebecca Gooch found a way to turn their passion for candy making into paychecks. In there 20s, the pair left their jobs as substitute teachers to launch Rebecca Ruth Candy in Frankfort, Kentucky. At the heart of their fledgling business were the homemade sweets they traditionally made and gifted at Christmas. Nearly 100 years later, the company’s chocolate confections continue to be a highly desirable holiday treat and a family legacy that Ruth’s grandson, Charles Booe, is proud to carry on. “This is a family business and I hope it stays that way,” he says. 

“[Ruth and Rebecca] were really ahead of their time,” Charles says. “When they started the business, they didn’t have the right to vote and the style of the day would have been to use their last names, but they defied the patriarchy and used their first names. They were Southern ladies with high standards, but were kind of rebellious.”