Treats in store from new online sweet shop
They say there is no sentiment in business but that's nonsense as far as confectioners' daughter Janine Beale is concerned.
Not only has she has opened a sweet shop that brings back the tastes and smells and memories of her childhood, she has actually called it Sweet Sentiments.
It's not the kind of place her dad and mum would have run, however, because Mrs Beale, 42, has opened her Clapham-based 'retro' sweet shop on the internet.
Log on, pull open the shop door and you are into a wonderful world of sweets – around 400 different varieties and many of them sweets you thought had long since gone out of production.
The former IT systems analyst and teacher said: "The sweets you used to buy in the corner shop do still exist, it's just that you don't know where to find them."
She set out to remedy that situation online in March last year, after months of research into sweet manufacturing in the UK, and has clearly re-awakened the sweet tooth in hundreds of nostalgic customers.
"Sales are picking up very nicely," she said, and to her delight she has found that the selection in the shop is attracting some big commercial customers.
Mrs Beale said: "We had a massive order from American Express, who bought 480kgs of sweets worth about £3,500 for a big conference in Malta. They set up an old-fashioned pick 'n' mix stall run by ladies dressed as fairies and also wanted marshmallow and fudge for dips at a chocolate fountain."
Celebrity Sharon Osbourne was another buyer for her Channel 4 TV show on National Marshmallow Day.
"She had hunky guys taking them out into the audience," said Mrs Beale.
It's all a far cry from her girlhood days, spent helping her parents in the shops they managed and later owned in the Midlands.
Her favourite sweets then were the very grown-up Jamieson's Raspberry Ruffles, and another memory is working in a Thornton's sweet shop, cracking toffee, weighing sweets and writing messages on Easter eggs.
Now her priority is quick despatch of batches so that customers receive them within three to four days of placing their order.
She sees Sweet Sentiments as an ideal way to balance working life with the demands of raising a family – she has daughters aged nine and ten, who have become third generation confectioners.
"They weigh up the sweets and test the new ones!" said Mrs Beale.
Her new venture has been profiled in a number of national magazines and is appearing in the Smart Guide to the Internet in She magazine and also sold separately in WH Smith and Sainsbury's stores.
If you want to check out bubblegums – nine sorts, each with description and illustration – or the shop's 24 different kinds of chocolates and 21 mint varieties, log on to www.sweetsentiments.co.uk
And, yes, you will find gobstoppers there as well ...
Source: Bedford Today