The story of Rebecca-Ruth Candy begins in 1919 with two substitute schoolteachers, Ruth Hanly (Booe) and Rebecca Gooch. After much praise from family and friends for chocolates they had given during Christmas, they decided they were better candy makers than substitute teachers. At a time when few women went into business, Rebecca-Ruth Candies were an immediate success. At the Frankfort Hotel, the two women rented the barroom (which previously had been closed by Prohibition) and began making chocolates on a 12-foot curved marble table now called “Edna’s Table.”
The story of “Edna’s Table”
Edna’s Table was originally a bar top in the Old Capitol Hotel, circa 1854. The marble slab was purchased by Ruth in 1917 for $10 after a fire demolished the hotel. The marble table was named for Edna, an employee who was hired by Ruth in 1929 and worked for Rebecca-Ruth Candies for 67 years. Edna finally retired at age 90.
In 1925, Ruth married Douglas Booe and moved to Northern Kentucky where she continued to make candies. Four years later, Ruth moved back to Frankfort, devastated by her husband’s death and needing to provide for her new son John Charles. Later that year, Rebecca married and sold her share of the business to Ruth. Unfortunately, just after Ruth became sole owner the Great Depression hit; orders dwindled and chocolates were selling by the piece instead of by the box.
In 1933, Ruth’s house and factory located in a suburb of Frankfort, Kentucky was destroyed by fire. Ruth lost her home, supplies, money, and candy-making equipment, with only “Edna’s Table” escaping undamaged. Starting over, the idea of mixing candy and bourbon together came in 1936, and Ruth worked on the recipe for two years perfecting the still-secret process for blending bourbon and candy. The unique chocolates soon became popular and sales boomed.
In 1964, Mrs. Booe retired, passing the business to her only son, John Booe. Ruth lived to the age of 82, passing away in 1973. John Booe further developed the business, expanding the factory and increasing candy production. In 1997, John sold the business to his son Charles Booe, and Charles and John run the business together today.