From one journey to the next

Owner Pam Debolt’s adventures led her to sell chocolate, candy in Pullman, but they’re not over


RACHEL SUN | The Daily Evergreen

James Hust purchases candy from Pam Debolt at Palouse Country Candy. She opened the downtown store in 2015.

RACHEL SUN, Evergreen reporter

Glider pilot. Thrill-seeker. Mother. Businesswoman. Many Pullman residents know Pam Debolt for her store, Palouse Country Candy. But for the Southern California native, the shop is just one new journey in a long series of adventures.

“The company I was working for had country-wide layoffs, based only on geography, not performance,” she says, “So I decided to reinvent myself and step out of my comfort zone.”

Pam’s energy radiates off the polished countertops and jars filled with gummy candies as she describes her daring feats throughout the years.

Historically, Pam likes doing new things. Her daughter, Madison Debolt, says she started flying glider planes about 25 years ago.

“She’s kind of an adrenaline junkie, so being in a tiny little bubble in the middle of the sky is right up her alley,” Madison says. “[She and my father] used to do races and stuff like that, where they would try to fly across a desert.”

Pam cultivated a taste for excitement at a young age, when she spent hours outside with her five brothers. The six caused mischief in vacant lots, playing baseball and building forts.

“I sort of grew up as a tomboy,” Pam says with a laugh. “I had a great time with all my brothers.”

She remembers one accident when a snake they caught got loose in the house.

“My mother was having a big women’s meeting one night at the house, and the snake decided to re-emerge in the middle of the women’s meeting,” she says. “Screaming, yelling women running in every direction, and my mother just went over and casually picked up the snake. By that point in time, she was very used to us bringing stuff like that home.”

RACHEL SUN | The Daily Evergreen
Pam Debolt, owner of Palouse Country Candy, talks about the bulk chocolates she sells at her shop.

The local business owner’s escapades range from skydiving and scuba diving to surfing.

On one occasion, Pam was sailing with a group on an island off French Polynesia, when the excursion went awry after the party landed.

“We took the little dinghies on one of the islands and started walking around, and out of nowhere came a wild boar and started chasing us,” Pam paused. She laughs again, a smile on her face. “We hightailed it back to the boat.”

Now, in her candy store, Pam is on a new kind of adventure. One child runs up to the counter with a twenty-cent piece of candy.

“I have a quarter!” he says.

“Well, I have a nickel,” Pam replies, leaning over the glass countertop.

Pam’s bright blue eyes sparkle with the same exuberance as the young customers who marvel at her rows of candy, running back and forth and choosing their favorites.

“The vast majority of people that come into a candy store are happy,” she says. “I have a lot of fun just watching the kids running around and getting excited about everything that’s in here.”

Plenty of adult customers frequent the shop, too.

Local hairdresser Heidi Armstrong works down the block from Palouse Country Candy and enjoys the caramels and watermelon candies at Pam’s shop.

“Our family and her family both like theater, so we talk about theater a lot,” Armstrong says. “She’s very sweet.”

Tyson Feasel, owner of Cafe Moro across the street, says the chocolate she sells is his favorite.

“There’s this dark chocolate caramel-coconut that’s really good,” he says. “The first three weeks she was there, I was in there probably too much.”

The business owners have a symbiotic relationship — Pam provides chocolate, and Feasel brings Pam the occasional latte from his cafe.

Despite her work at the candy shop, Pam says she still has plenty of things on her bucket list. She wants to travel more in Europe. She loves the history there, the people and culture.

“You’ve got to grab life by the nape of the neck and enjoy every minute you have,” she says. “You never know how much time you have.”