New home for sweet teeth

A NEW shop in the heart of Ipswich is bound to conjure up sweet memories.

A NEW shop in the heart of Ipswich is bound to conjure up sweet memories.

Mr Simms' Olde Sweet Shoppe becomes the third of its kind in the town, joining My Sweet Candy Store, in Queen Street and Mr Brown's, in Upper Brook Street.

Sweet toothed customers visiting the convincing replica of a 1950s confectionery will be pleased to see the 400 jars full of classic sweets.

The running of the shop is a real family affair for owner, Billy Longman, who is joined in the venture by wife, Sue, and daughters, Heidi and Cherry.

The family owned a florist in Romford until they met Mr Simms franchise owner, Martin Peet.

Mr Longman, 58, said: “Martin opened a shop opposite us and it was a roaring success. I got speaking to him as it was going up and he promised that when it was finished I would want one myself. I laughed at the time but I looked into the idea and liked it.

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“We may be heading for recession but confectionery is always popular. The people in Ipswich have been really friendly and we want to offer them a good product with good service.”

Martin Peet started the franchise in 2004 with a small shop in Staffordshire. Now Mr Simms is a registered trademark boasting 15 units nationwide and an annual turnover of £1.7 million.

The idea for the business was inspired by a sketch of an old fashioned sweet shop in a 1958 confectionery magazine.

Mr Peet, who bought a newsagent at the tender age of 18 and spent 10 years working for DFS, builds each unit by hand.

He said: “Ipswich is our smallest build yet but the property had been empty for a good year and Billy saw an opportunity.

“If I feel convinced that the business is feasible in an area, I have to go there. Other shops will inevitably come and go but we wish to do business as professionally and sustainably as possible.”

Paul Clement, Executive Director of Ipswich Central, couldn't explain the sudden surge in traditional sweet shops in Ipswich but made clear the importance of smaller businesses.

Mr Clement said: “It's one of the things that make a place like Ipswich more attractive.

“Here we have small independent businesses, which are unique to the town, standing alongside the big high street stores. We think it is important to help those businesses become even more successful than they already are.”