South Side’s Fudge Farm Is Closing. Owners Blame It On Escalating Gun Violence
The sweets shop said on Facebook that it can no longer justify putting its employees in danger.
A South Side staple is closing, citing the recent uptick in gun-related violence in the neighborhood.
Fudge Farm, located on the 1500 block of East Carson Street, announced via social media that it would be closing, effective immediately, because of “the uncontrollable shootings and violence.”
“We can no longer ask teenage children, or no one for that matter, to work for us in this environment,” the company wrote in a Facebook post.
South Side has made the news nearly every weekend of late as a result of violent incidents — most of which involve guns. According to KDKA, Councilman Bruce Kraus said there are between 1,200 and 1,500 people on East Carson Street at any given time on a typical weekend night. In that crowd, he added, there could be anywhere between 500 and 700 handguns.
Combined with the heavy drinking associated with South Side’s nightlife, the result has been dangerous — even deadly.
On Saturday night, stray bullets flew through the windows of Cambod-Ican Kitchen on 1701 E. Carson St., sending one employee to the hospital in critical condition. On Sunday night, a shooting near 15th and East Carson streets sent two men to the hospital with gunshot wounds.
Reporter Marty Griffin posted a video of the violence Sunday night on his Twitter account with the caption, “S Side Last night!! WAR Zone! No one safe!”
Many have linked the violence to a nationwide trend following recent mass shootings in Uvalde, Texas; Philadelphia; and Chattanooga, Tennessee, among others. An Easter Sunday mass shooting at a Pittsburgh Airbnb on the North Side also left two teenagers dead and several more injured.
After two shootings in one weekend, South Side residents and business owners have expressed concern, frustration and unease on social media. Some have called for an increased police presence in the neighborhood, while others have remained adamant that would only increase tensions and ultimately make matters worse.
In its Facebook comments, Fudge Farm said, “We have had two shootings in our entrance this weekend, with good conscious [sic] we can no longer ask people to jeopardize their safety! Anyone that personally knows us, knows that our employees are family, we wouldn’t allow our daughters to work in this environment as we wouldn’t want your son or daughter to do so either!”
It also posted a picture of a gun discarded behind the store with the caption, “5 am the morning after we make the announcement that we are leaving and we find this at the back door on my way into our store??”
Fudge Farm specializes in milkshakes, fudge and other gourmet treats such as chocolate-covered Oreos, pretzels, apples and strawberries, as well as chocolate bark. Its departure was met with support, albeit sadness, from fans on social media.
“I will absolutely go out of my way to support a business that has this type of ethics,” one commenter wrote.
Another wrote, “Thank you for prioritizing people over a business plan. See you at the waterfront,” referencing the company’s other location at 142 W. Bridge St. in Homestead.