We had the good fortune of connecting with Channon “Chay” Powell and we’ve shared our conversation below.

Hi Channon “Chay”, what was your thought process behind starting your own business?
My father was the original candymaker extraordinaire! He taught me everything I know. He was part owner of a candy store in Metairie, Louisiana, a suburb of New Orleans. We provided the full N’awlins handmade candy store experience by selling everything from turtles and truffles to candy apples and candied pecans. I worked there all throughout high school and college. Once I moved to Atlanta to take on a career in corporate America and got laid off, my thought process was to lean on my culinary skills. I started out with a route selling to local businesses then began my stint as a table and tent vendor. Thereafter, I joined the food truck and catering industries of which I am apart of today. My father is no longer here with us but his spirit and legacy lives on. 

Alright, so for those in our community who might not be familiar with your business, can you tell us more?
Chay J’s specializes in handmade confections with a New Orleans flair. Our best seller and signature item is our Creole Pretzels, sweet and salty buttery caramel praline pretzels with pecans. It is often imitated but never duplicated. This unique confection has set us apart from the crowd. Skeptics are doubtful until they try it and it completely takes them by surprise by just one bite! Which is our motto, “To change lives one mouth at a time.” Our unique candies have ended up in the hands of sweet loving Georgians, many people across the country, and even some celebrities. We have catered to major corporations and events throughout the city of Atlanta. We even expanded our business and opened a storefront in Cumberland Mall in 2017. The store was quite successful but closed to unsuccessful contract negotiations. This experience was a valuable one. In business I’ve learned that the road may not always be smooth and there will be bumps along the way. And sometimes the hardest lessons come at the most inopportune times but it is not what happens TO you but how YOU respond to what happens. Timing is everything and trust your instincts. What is meant to be will be and if it’s for you, nothing will stop your destiny!

If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
Since I’m always working, this is definitely a challenging question! lol As a native New Orleanian, I am a self-professed foodie so restaurant hopping would be my fun go-to hands down. Atlanta has some great eateries which always is a good place to meet and mingle, especially pre-COVID…sigh. The Po-Boy Shop in Decatur would be a place to show off New Orleans food in the ATL, They even make the sandwiches with authentic Leidenheimer bread. Highly recommended! We can finish the Atlanta Big Easy tour by visiting my friends at the Sno-Good New Orleans Snoballs truck, Everything Nola Cafe in Atlanta, and Nolan’s Taste of Nola in College Park. Haven’t tried Cafe Bourbon Street yet but plan on visiting in the new year! I’d also add a stop to Not As Famous Cookie Company’s new cafe in Smryna for some scratch baked cookies. Yum!

The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
Shoutout to my brother Jason Powell, the “J” in Chay J’s who has been there since the beginning. He is the right hand man and the creative genius behind the business. Shoutout to my mother who is my assistant, constant support, and silent hero. Shoutout to my best friends who provide guidance, encouragement, and invaluable business advice. And most importantly, shoutout to my customers who have supported me over 10 years. They have been the most faithful and loyal throughout this journey. I am so thankful for them.

Website: www.chayjs.com, https://chayjs.square.site
Instagram: @chayjs
Linkedin: Channon “Chay” Powell
Twitter: @chayjs
Facebook: facebook.com/chayjs
Other: Will be launching a rebrand of the Chay J’s Youtube page so stay tuned!!

Nominate Someone: ShoutoutAtlana is built on recommendations and shoutouts from the community; it’s how we uncover hidden gems, so if you or someone you know deserves recognition please let us know here.