The aroma of success at Tower Ramparts

Java Store in Tower Ramparts, Ipswich
Owner Howard Webb and assistant Jade Brooks

Java Store in Tower Ramparts, Ipswich Owner Howard Webb and assistant Jade Brooks - Credit: Archant

The new Java store in Ipswich’s Tower Ramparts Shopping Centre is celebrating the sweet smell of success after just three months of trading.

With aromatic candles, scented soaps, incense oils and other fragrant items flying off the shelves, owner Howard Webb has been struggling to keep up with the demand in the shop, where the extensive collection of home aromas is not to be sniffed at.

The 42-year-old knew his range of olfactory accessories would be popular having run a shop in Norwich for six years, but has been pleasantly surprised by the response at Tower Ramparts.

Howard said: “We had a really good Christmas, which is always a massive time for us, but it was hectic as we were only just open so still getting our heads round the stock and everything.

“But the team were great and the shop looked really good and it was a success for us.”

Having thoroughly tested the market in his other branch, Howard is focusing the Tower Ramparts store on smaller home essentials – in particular candles and soaps – whereas the Norwich shop also features furniture made in Java.

He said: “I’m from a furniture background and my sister is based out in Indonesia now running our factories and designing the furniture there.

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“When we started out in 2000 the plan was to concentrate mainly on furniture with a few smaller accessories thrown in. But that business model has had to change as the smaller accessories have really taken off so that has grown to be the bigger side of the market now, with a bit of furniture thrown in.”

Mike Sorhaindo, manager of Tower Ramparts Shopping Centre, said: “Java Store have made a real impact since arriving here and they have proved very popular and had an excellent Christmas period.

“They are an important part of our retail mix here which combines big high street names with smaller independent stores and we’re delighted at their success.”

Despite stocking a huge array of makes, brands and scents, it is the famous Yankee Candle range that continues to be Howard’s biggest seller year on year.

He said: “We’re now the biggest stockist of Yankee Candles in East Anglia. People do try other makes but often they end up coming back to it.

“It is so well known now that it has taken on a life of its own and fans of the products know more about it than we do.

“There is huge excitement when a new recipe comes out and there’s an online forum with about 4,000 members all discussing new flavours. Customers will often come in to the shop asking for a scent we haven’t even heard of yet. It’s insane.”

Insane or not, Howard’s sales of Yankee Candles kept his new store heaving over the Christmas period, with flavours such as Cranberry ice and Snowflake Cookie flying off the shelves, alongside the favourite luxury treat, the Yankee Advent House with a different scented tealight for every day of December.

Howard said: “They also did a limited edition Chocolate Layer Cake candle that smelt just like brownies straight out of the oven. We had a waiting list for that one.

“The next big thing for us is Mother’s Day and then Easter, and there are some lovely new candles out for that – some very rich chocolatey ones but also a really nice Jelly Bean one.

While Howard can talk enthusiastically about Yankee Candle, the brand may have some competition this year as he has just received a new order from the Village Candle company of Warm Buttered Toast scented candles that he described as ‘just gorgeous.’

Howard has been able to take on four members of staff at his new Tower Ramparts store in Ipswich and after the success so far he plans further expansions in the near future, maybe even another shop later this year.

But for now he has to concentrate on Christmas – Christmas 2015 that is – if he wants to make sure he has another season of fragrant good fortune.

“I’m thinking about Christmas all this week as I have to put my order with Yankee Candle in now for next December if I want to guarantee the stock,” Howard said.

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