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Alan Brown, 56: Candy Apple Salesman

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Scott Elmquist

"Now my father, he brought us up to make cotton candy and candy apples in a shop. And when he passed in 2006, he left it to all his sons. So every event in Richmond, we work. And we don’t only sell this, we sell food also. We sell funnel cakes, fried Oreos, smoothies and stuff like that.

"My dad started the business in 1960. Him and his partner got together in 1995 and went halves on cotton candy and candy apples. They bought the machine. They bought the candy mix and everything. About a year later, my father had started on his own … making it in the shop. He got two cotton candy machines and about five big pots for the candy-apple mix. We would go into the neighborhoods on a truck and sell it off. I was 10.

"I ate a whole lot of candy apples as a kid. I still probably eat three candy apples a day. … People sure did like my daddy’s candy apples. [The recipe is] a family secret.

"My brother, he’s the most responsible one, so he took on the business when my dad died. But I sell anywhere from 40 and 50 a day here. They’re two dollars apiece.

"I like it. I like the people. I get to meet nice people — some rude people, but really, mostly nice people. It just draws nice people. Especially when you got blue candy apples like this. It’s raspberry. It’s good.

"I overcame addiction. I’ve been sober 440 days. I feel better than I’ve ever felt. And this keeps me busy.

"The thing I’m most proud of is being consistent with this business, because there can be ups and downs. But people see us out here daily, and they know we’re serious about it."

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