Smiling man with a red bandana on his head

Sam Tuttle

Samuel Bradford Tuttle was born on July 4, 1979, to Greg and Jessica Tuttle. The Tuttles owned and operated a small grocery store on the south side of Oxford. Greg worked in the store from 7:00 a.m. until 7:00 p.m., and then Jessica worked until midnight. Whichever parent wasn't at the store was with Sam.

Sam's time in the store and his desire to emulate his parents helped him learn the basics of reading and arithmetic earlier than his peers. When he entered the first grade, he could already complete assignments that his classmates would still be struggling with when the school year ended.

Bored, Sam became the teacher's assistant but escaped being labeled the teacher's pet by helping the other children with their lessons. Making strategic gifts of penny candy and gum from the store probably didn't hurt either. This pattern continued throughout his school years.

Records show Sam was a bright child who volunteered for leadership positions that allowed him to help others during school hours. He didn't participate in sports or other extra-curricular activities because they conflicted with his responsibilities in the family store.

During his first year of high school, disaster struck in the form of a new supermarket. The Tuttle grocery store staggered along for eighteen months before Greg and Jessica closed their doors. Greg took a job as the Meat Manager at the supermarket that drove him out of business. Jessica stayed home and drank.

Sam juggled several part-time positions and put every penny he earned into the bank. By the time he graduated from high school, he had saved enough to open his own store, Tuttle Confections.

His parents hadn't been able to compete with supermarket pricing, and now the supermarket couldn't compete with his high-quality chocolates. Rather than waiting for customers to stop in, Sam wooed the wealthy and elite who were willing to pay top dollar for unique confections.

When the fancy multi-layer cake was cut to celebrate the first anniversary of the business, Sam was clearing more in a week than his parents had made in a month with the grocery store.

Unwilling to rest on his laurels and fearing that a competitor could appear and destroy him overnight, Sam expanded his selection to entice those who aspired to be wealthy and elite. The chocolates may not have been as large, but the taste was pure Tuttle, and the signature Tuttle Confections box meant more to some people than whatever was inside.

Sam looked around for a suitable promotional tool and found just the right mix in beauty pageants. Even more than putting his name out to people who wanted to improve their lot in life, he could help someone do exactly that.

Sam decided to sponsor Barbara Dubois, already making a splash in pageant circles at age six. He paid for costumes and makeup, sitting fees and consultants, dance lessons and personality training. He became a mentor and close friend to Barbara and her widowed mother, Susan.

The successful team racked up multiple wins until 2020, when Susan informed Sam that she was switching to a different sponsor, Platinum Chocolates. Platinum was a direct competitor of Tuttle Confections, new to the area and cutting into his business by offering a lesser product with a flashier presentation.

Sam honored his contracted commitments to Barbara and then terminated his involvement with the Dubois family. Two months later, his mother slipped into a diabetic coma and died. His father took his own life shortly thereafter.

At the annual Candymaker Conference and Trade Show this past January, Sam and Jacques Amor, the owner of Platinum Chocolates, came to blows during an elevator ride to the hotel lobby. Neither man was hospitalized, and no charges were pressed after the men agreed to pay for the damages to the elevator car.

Despite an experience that must have left a bitter taste in his mouth, Sam continues to involve himself in the world of beauty pageants, perhaps seeking another rising star who desperately needs his help.

 

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