Tasting stardom scoop by scoop

THE BALTIMORE SUN

Kenny Chizmadia and his Catonsville candy shop made their national television debut on the Today Show this past week. How did it go?

"It was good," said Kenny, employing his already locally famous laconic delivery.

NBC Washington correspondent Bob Haw spent a day at the Candy Box recently after reading about Kenny and the shop in The Sun ("Opening A Door," Aug. 6). Haw's segment recounted the story of how Chizmadia's parents, Dick and Mary, bought the store 18 years ago because no one would take a chance on hiring their son due to his disabilities. (He suffers from the results of an infant brain disorder known as cranial stenosis.)

Today, Kenny, now 40, has learned most of the skills needed to manage the shop and its team of teen-age girls who help him and his mother sell chocolates, candies, ice cream and snowballs year round.

The Today Show appearance capped a few particularly lively weeks around the store, Kenny said, since the newspaper article appeared. "People have been coming all the way from White Marsh," he said, as he busily made snowballs and ice cream cones.

Although his mother worried for a while that the Candy Box's new celebrity might bring in more business than they could handle ("It's almost as busy as Christmas around here," she said), Kenny seemed delighted with the recognition -- especially with Haw's description of him as "the Emperor of Ice Cream."

He also acknowledged that he has saved some of his earnings and has bought a plane ticket to New Mexico, where he plans to take a weeklong vacation at his sister's house.

After a summer like this, does he need a little R&R;?

"Yep," said the working man. "You better believe it."

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