By Ariana Lovitt

Railroads, candy, trains and ice cream.

At first glance, it may not seem as if these four items have anything in common.

But in the city of Franklin, one local business – Hoosier Cupboard Candy, Snacks and Ice Cream – specializes in all four.

Walking into the store’s rustic and old-fashioned interior, outfitted with dark wood floors, worn benches and vintage stools, is an immediate comfort. Shelves and display cases surround the area, each full of tempting treats, sodas and ice cream flavors.

Owner Kim Smith serves with a kind of enthusiasm that shines through every part of the store.

She describes herself as the “visitor’s center” of Franklin due to her extensive knowledge of the city. With her influence, it’s almost impossible to feel anything but childlike glee inside Hoosier Cupboard.

Smith was previously employed part-time at the store at a separate location, but ownership fell into her hands after the original owner passed away. The manager at the time, who took the owner’s place, had plans to purchase the business herself but decided against it at the last minute.

Smith initially envisioned owning a cafe in the area but now owns and operates Hoosier Cupboard full time with her husband, Craig and two children.

However, the transitional period for Hoosier Cupboard was not an easy one. The building on East Jefferson Street that now houses the business, sat empty for three years before the Smiths purchased it through a silent auction hosted by the Johnson County Community Foundation.

“We were the highest bid, so that’s how we got it,” Smith said. “Then it was nine months later to restore it before we could even open.”

Hoosier Cupboard continues to grow and evolve in its new home, which opened to the public in April 2016. Parts of the store’s decor and inventory have been added gradually, thanks to the family’s perseverance.

A downstairs area, for example, leads guests into a quaint yet growing museum of train and railroad memorabilia, containing everything from patches and signs to boxcars and a model train in the center of the room. Smith’s son, Cameron, owns most of the memorabilia and his mother shares in both his excitement and knowledge of trains.

“Having the opportunity to buy the candy store and grow it was just great,” she said. “I don’t know how to describe that, because it wasn’t something that was planned – it just fell into our laps.”

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