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Traditional Sweet Shop - thoughts

(102 Posts)
AllTheFloralCurtains Tue 09-Feb-21 18:23:33

I'm thinking of opening a sweet shop in my village.
I love the idea of an old fashioned sweet shop, with all the goodies lined up in Bell jars along the shelves.

For those of you who have been somewhere similar, could you tell me how you found the set up? (even better if it was 50 years ago!)

If the sweets are in jars behind the counter (so the customer looks over the counter and chooses their sweets, which are then weighed by the server) - I worry the selection will be hard to see.

But if the jars are laid out in a shop space (so the customer picks their jar/s and brings it to the counter) this seems fiddly and open to breakages, plus the server would be constantly returning the jars.

OP’s posts: |
Gliblet Tue 09-Feb-21 18:32:29

I remember our village shop 40 years ago doing this. Then again, I have also been to sweet shops like this in the last 12 months. I've never seen one where the customers bring jars to the counter - they're always behind the counter with either graphic labels or large clear print labels - the longer you can make the counter space the easier it will be to let the customers browse the shelves.

Usually it's either a long counter along one side of the shop with maybe a few shelves on the other side of the shop with pre-packaged sweets, or a U shaped layout so the customer has counter space on 3 sides of them and the staff can move along the side with the jars.

nursejekyll Tue 09-Feb-21 18:36:04

Sweets on shelves behind the counter is more traditional.

AllTheFloralCurtains Tue 09-Feb-21 18:46:18

OK, it does make more sense to have them behind the counter - Large print should be clear enough hopefully. I wonder if I should get some menus printed as well so it's easier for people to browse.
We will also have an artisan gelato selection (seaside town) so I'm trying to envision how to extend it so people have a good amount of time to choose before getting to the cashier - I think L shape is a good shout.

OP’s posts: |
Gliblet Tue 09-Feb-21 18:53:11

Sounds lovely.

If you want to take a sneaky peek at some examples, google Arcadia sweetshop in Bedford, or take a look on TripAdvisor for Mr Simms sweet shop in Wallingford.

dancinfeet Tue 09-Feb-21 19:14:55

We used to have a gorgeous shop like this in our town (sadly now shut down). It used to have jars behind counter, they also used to sell mixed sweet cones on the top of the counter too, and various lovely bags of chocolates, possibly a lollipop stand with traditional striped lollies from what I remember. I think they did nice ice creams in the summer months too. We only have 1 shop in town now that sells traditional sugar mice and its rarely open, everywhere else sells the standard haribo - cadbury type crap.

Brogues Tue 09-Feb-21 19:30:55

I know someone who did this and had to sel up within a year unfortunately. Just not enough money in it when you consider rent and other costs. I do also know of a local company (with hygiene certificates) who do 1kg boxes of pic and mix with none of those overheads - that’s done well through lockdown as well.

Sadik Tue 09-Feb-21 19:38:51

Nice pic of a sweet shop setup here on their FB profile.

sunflowersandbuttercups Tue 09-Feb-21 19:51:02

I used to live somewhere with one of these.

But they sold much more than traditional sweets - I don't think traditional sweets in jars (alone) will make you much money, sadly.

They also sold loads of American sweets/candy, things like US-imported flavours of pop-tarts, ready-made pic n mix bags, quirky flavoured chocolates, american Soda cans, imported cereal etc.

They were always very busy.

idontlikealdi Tue 09-Feb-21 19:54:56

Mr Simms is a chain of traditional sweet shops. All the jars are behind the counters. Things in packets and American sweets are on the shop floor.

RandomMess Tue 09-Feb-21 19:56:02

Our local one sell the traditional UK sweets and the Imports too plus local handmade fudge etc.

LizBennet Tue 09-Feb-21 19:57:11

Yes to the Mr Simms. It’s my daughter’s favourite shop (and costs me a small fortune when she goes in).

00100001 Tue 09-Feb-21 20:00:12

It varies.ibe been to ones with jars behind the counter and some where you take the jar to the counter.
One in the Cotswolds also does 'penny sweets' where the tubs are open and you get little set of rings and a bowl to fill up.

You need to sell more than just sweets. All the shops have that in common. Even the chain of Mr Simms.

Laiste Tue 09-Feb-21 20:03:23

Gawd i'm craving a rhubarb an' custard now ...

Fucket Tue 09-Feb-21 20:04:31

You need to be in a place where you have a high footfall of tourists, as they are more likely to want to buy an ice cream / sweets after having a leisurely day trip out. There is one in Rochester high st (no idea if it’s still going cos of covid). I imagine the reason why it and other niche shops did quite well is because of the Dickensian high street, which is/was a major attraction. I don’t think you’re going to compete with supermarkets for cheap ranges of sweets for children in your bog standard town high st.

FloralCarpet Tue 09-Feb-21 20:04:41

We had 2 of these in our local town. Both with jars behind the counter. One sadly hasn’t survived lockdown. The one that has survived has a much smaller premises so cheaper rent. It also offers free local delivery with fab boxes of what I would call penny sweets available

thelake Tue 09-Feb-21 20:06:46

Sounds lovely but will you make a living? Online sweet shops, supermarkets and also anti sugar brigade.... all against you.

SnowyBranches Tue 09-Feb-21 20:06:49

Colchester has Darcys Traditional Sweet Shop, Cambridge has Hardy’s and Southwold has One St James Green which I think is called Sweeties now. If you wanted ideas! Darcys has sweets in jars behind the counter and pick and mix under the counter, with packaged sweets and soft drinks in the shop itself. Hardy’s is similar. We used to like the Southwold one because it did penny sweets in the way I remember shops doing as a child - you put them in your paper bag and pay per sweet rather than by weight - but I don’t know if they do that anymore, it’s tricky to work out the price and I guess shops don’t want kids grubby hands rummaging in the sweet trays. It was a nice way of buying a few sweets though rather than having to fill a cup.

SnowyBranches Tue 09-Feb-21 20:07:46

Another idea is to diversify into providing sweet stalls at weddings, etc

00100001 Tue 09-Feb-21 20:09:50

SnowyBranches

Colchester has Darcys Traditional Sweet Shop, Cambridge has Hardy’s and Southwold has One St James Green which I think is called Sweeties now. If you wanted ideas! Darcys has sweets in jars behind the counter and pick and mix under the counter, with packaged sweets and soft drinks in the shop itself. Hardy’s is similar. We used to like the Southwold one because it did penny sweets in the way I remember shops doing as a child - you put them in your paper bag and pay per sweet rather than by weight - but I don’t know if they do that anymore, it’s tricky to work out the price and I guess shops don’t want kids grubby hands rummaging in the sweet trays. It was a nice way of buying a few sweets though rather than having to fill a cup.

Southwold has another one, by the Tesco express, called Beaches and Cream. They sell doggy ice cream as well!

FinallyHere Tue 09-Feb-21 20:15:13

Oh, that does sound lovely. I would be a customer. Somethings I'd be interested in as a business....

Have you done a business plan ? Are you looking to make a profit or just break even ? Will you factor your own costs and any other staff / volunteers ?

What would your fixed costs be? How much money would you have tied up in stock? Do you have space to store stock? If you can buy larger amounts you can expect lower rates.

How much would you need to sell to cover both the costs of the products and your costs?

Good luck.

sorryiasked Tue 09-Feb-21 20:16:06

Big jars behind the counter, but if you worry they will be hard to see you can have a small sample of each jar in a glass fronted counter.

SillyOldMummy Tue 09-Feb-21 20:17:00

Sounds fab. Why not have an American sweets corner, a fudge counter, and have a space out back where kids can come and have a little birthday party and make rocky road or peppermint creams or fruit kebabs dipped in chocolate, or be taught how to decorate cakes.
I'd definitely set up the sweet counter with the jars at the back that's how it was in my local post office general store in the 80s although they also had a penny sweets counter and you got to fill a tiny paper bag. I swear it's how we all learned to count and add. Chocolate saws were 2p but shrimps were only a halfpenny, a little box of candy cigarettes was 5p if I remember right.

QueenofBrickdon Tue 09-Feb-21 20:22:35

You should do it and theme it like this one at Beamish Museum. It's a tourist attraction but there are usually queues down the street. It's amazing.

Cotswoldmama Tue 09-Feb-21 20:25:59

We've got a great sweet shop. It also sells handmade chocolates and ice cream and slush puppies. They have all the jars on shelves around the shop and you pick the jars you want and take them up to the counter. There's too many to only have behind the counter! They also sell online. I think as others have said you need to diversify. Ice cream is great for summer and ensure you have cheap pocket money sweets to get kids to come back regularly.

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