Another Sweet Success From Adam Young
23 Feb 2022
As successful as Adam Young has been in downtown Mystic as a serial entrepreneur in the baking world, one thing he had never done was attach his full name to one of his ventures.
That will change when his boutique chocolate brand A.T.Y. Confections (Young’s middle name is Thomas) opens its retail location in one of the six commercial spaces in the new mixed-used building The Standard next to Sift.
Young calls this latest enterprise “very personal” and “a way to get back to my true craft,” which he developed during his six years executive pastry chef at the Ocean House in Watch Hill. From there he opened Sift Bake Shop in 2016, a seasonal Sift in Watch Hill two years later, Mix Rooftop & Bar at Sift in 2019, and Young Buns Doughnuts on West Main St. in 2020.
Custom chocolates, custom boxes
Young began selling his chocolates last June, first out of Sift and then online in small batches made to order, carefully packaged, and sent by UPS through atyconfections.com. They’re available in pre-packaged boxes of 4, 8, 15 and 30, as well custom combinations in each box size.
Each chocolate offering is a unique creation, of tastes and textures, colors and shapes. The shells are of milk, dark, or white chocolate, and the fillings mostly different flavors of ganache (a mixture of chocolate and warm cream). From these and other ingredients come such offerings as Grand Mariner Truffle, Dark Chocolate Mint, Hot Irish Chocolate and, for the young at heart, Peanut Butter & Jelly.
Although his name is on the product, the man Food Network honored as the Best Baker in America in 2018 takes care to point out A.T.Y. Confections is a team effort. “By no means is it an Adam Young show,” he stressed.
A Co-Star Among Many
One of the starring roles belongs to Jen Hickman, who is the head of production for the hand-crafted chocolates. “Jen is massively talented,” Young said. “She has an amazing palette and technique in how she hand-paints and air-brushes her creations. They’re not just a chocolate shell with fillings. They’re multi-textural, multi-flavored.”
Young uses many different types of chocolates — some from as far away as Madagascar — to achieve the right balance and flavor in pursuit of what he calls “the right mouth feel.”
Such creations, Young said, “are a ton of work, and take a lot of time to make. And it takes a lot of talented people to make them.”
Sourcing the best ingredients and putting such care into creating his baked goods and confections is critical to attracting his customers, Young said, “Because no one comes here out of necessity. They want something unique and different. I call our products ‘achievable luxury’.”
A Believer in Mystic’s Business Community
In launching A.T.Y. Confections, also creating jobs during the pandemic was a factor, Young said. When he started Sift less than six years ago he had only a dozen or so employees. Now, across his businesses, he employs 150.
“We essentially doubled down on Mystic,” he said. “We did it to retain and re-invest in our employees and provide them more benefits, as well as diversify our revenue stream.”
It’s all part of what Young sees as a virtuous cycle that he shares with fellow entrepreneurs who have vested interests in Mystic.
“There’s a really high concentration of talented and like-minded business owners and vendors here. What’s good one is good for all,” he said. “And talent attracts more talent.”
As for his next venture, Young isn’t ready to commit to one yet. But the likelihood is high. As he noted, “I get bored easily.”