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Local News

Watson Celebrates Grand Opening Of "Bubba's Sweet Spot"

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Sandra Averhart
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  Bubba Watson has officially cut the ribbon for his new downtown Pensacola candy and ice cream shop, which began operating earlier this month.  Bubba’s Sweet Spot is Watson’s latest investment in the community he calls home. 

The pro golfer is set to play in the PGA Championship in Springfield, New Jersey this week. But, he took time out from the PGA Tour on Friday to take part in the Grand Opening of the new store at 412 South Palafox Street.

Why candy?

“I feel like I’m a kid at heart,” answered Watson, a native of Bagdad and graduate of Milton High School. “I get to play golf for a living, but I want to dream up other things, so why not a candy shop?”

Further, Watson says a candy store is a “happy place.” It’s a fun way to help grow downtown Pensacola and it’s the kind of place that has universal appeal.

“Every big city around the world has a treat shop, a dessert shop, an ice cream shop, where ever you are, whatever culture you’re in,” he said.

He chose Palafox and Main Street, believing it to be a perfect location for Bubba’s Sweet Spot, which had a “soft-opening” over the July Fourth Weekend. That gave the crew a little time to work out some kinks before the Grand Opening.

“This is my first time in a real business, so to learn to see and to get feedback, we asked the people to comment,” said Watson, ‘what flavors, what things they like, what treats they like, what they don’t like.”

Watson says their first few weeks in operation also revealed the initial challenges of ordering the right amount of inventory and securing as much of it as possible from regional suppliers. For example, his ice cream comes from Southern Craft Creamery, based in Marianna.

“We want a creamery that’s close by. We want the fruits and berries and different that we dip in chocolate, we want it from close by,” Watson said, adding that buying local makes it harder.

Goodies Everywhere

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Credit Sandra Averhart
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Customers check out the many offerings at Bubba's Sweet Spot in downtown Pensacola.

On Grand Opening day, there were no problems for Bubba’s Sweet Spot.

Outside, Watson entertained and took photos with fans. His partner and principle owner of the Pensacola Blue Wahoos Quint Studer was there, as well as some players and the team mascot Kazoo.

Inside, the long, narrow space is full of customers who are checking out the ice cream and other treats that fill the display cases and line the opposite wall.

Jeannie Lukkar and David Cox were among them.

“My son got in before Bubba came and he was able to sneak in buy me a praline,” said Lukkar. “Because I said ‘okay, a praline is the test of a good candy maker.’ And, yes, it was awesome.”

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Credit Sandra Averhart
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Cox tried out the salted dark chocolate ice cream. Cox is a friend of local PGA golfer Boo Weekly. “This is fantastic,” said Cox. “My goodness, it’s good.”

Bubba’s Sweet Spot, now open seven days a week, is the most recent of Watson’s deepening ties to the Pensacola community, where he learned to play golf as a youth.

He’s also a minority owner of the Pensacola Blue Wahoos. And, he and his wife Angie officially moved their family back to the area this spring.

“I wanted to come back. I’m getting older and I want to do my part of giving back,” said Watson, adding that what’s most important to him now is being a good person, husband, and dad. “So my little part is coming back and doing businesses, trying to create jobs and a beautiful city.”

As for jobs, the business started with a staff of 15, including Watson’s mom, Molly.

The grand opening of his new business is just one part of an exciting time for Bubba Watson.

This week, he’s turning his attention to the PGA Championship. Next week, it’s the Traveler’s Championship in Connecticut, where’s he’s won twice and is the defending champion. After that, he’ll represent the U.S. as golf returns to the Olympic Games in Rio.