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Sweet shop looks to the future after ‘crazy’ sugar rush in lockdown

PUBLISHED: 14:34 22 October 2020 | UPDATED: 15:11 22 October 2020

Beccles Shop Local Campaign. Vanessa and Paul Kisby, Sweeties Beccles. Pictures: BRITTANY WOODMAN

Beccles Shop Local Campaign. Vanessa and Paul Kisby, Sweeties Beccles. Pictures: BRITTANY WOODMAN

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The owners of a popular sweet shop which had to “adapt to survive” during lockdown are aiming to expand their business.

Beccles Shop Local Campaign. Vanessa and Paul Kisby, Sweeties Beccles. Pictures: BRITTANY WOODMANBeccles Shop Local Campaign. Vanessa and Paul Kisby, Sweeties Beccles. Pictures: BRITTANY WOODMAN

Vanessa and Paul Kisby, owners of Sweeties, in Beccles, are planning to welcome customers for an “experience” after a “crazy” sugar rush during lockdown.

The couple, who opened their first store in Southwold in 2017, opened their hometown branch two years ago and are now looking to build on that success, having turned to online deliveries during the shop’s enforced closure earlier this year in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic.

Mr Kisby said: “Things are actually going really well.

“We adapted what we did in lockdown because our delivery service went crazy - we were probably doing 60-70 deliveries every day.

Beccles Shop Local Campaign. Craig Rivett, Deputy Council leader, Pictures: BRITTANY WOODMANBeccles Shop Local Campaign. Craig Rivett, Deputy Council leader, Pictures: BRITTANY WOODMAN

“Then the shop reopened and we have had a lot of new customers and people seem to be buying more than pre-lockdown.

“We have had had to adapt to survive but it has been really good.”

This week, this newspaper has launched their Shop Local campaign, encouraging residents to support local businesses during this time, whether in store on online.

We’re asking you to get out and spend, spend, spend to support local shops this Christmas and beyond - and they can’t wait to welcome you.

Beccles Shop Local Campaign. Left Christine Pinsent Beccles Business Association, Craig Rivett, Deputy Council leader, Vanessa and Paul Kisby, Sweeties Beccles Pictures: BRITTANY WOODMANBeccles Shop Local Campaign. Left Christine Pinsent Beccles Business Association, Craig Rivett, Deputy Council leader, Vanessa and Paul Kisby, Sweeties Beccles Pictures: BRITTANY WOODMAN

This newspaper’s Shop Local campaign is a use-it-or-lose-it plea to shoppers to consider independent traders and businesses to give our much-loved high streets a life-saving boost.

East Suffolk Council have also encouraged residents to back their local businesses, with deputy council leader Craig Rivett visiting Sweeties and Saxons in the town earlier this week.

And we want shoppers to not just hit the high street, but also to think local when shopping on the web, with so many local traders now offering online options.

At the heart of the campaign is an effort to keep money in the local economy.

Beccles Shop Local Campaign Left Holly Hayward, Director Saxons Soap Shop and Craig Rivett, Deputy Council leader. Pictures: BRITTANY WOODMANBeccles Shop Local Campaign Left Holly Hayward, Director Saxons Soap Shop and Craig Rivett, Deputy Council leader. Pictures: BRITTANY WOODMAN

Experts say that for every £1 spent at an independent business, 63p ends up staying here - compared to just 5p spent at a national or international retailer.

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Mr Kisby said: “We are now going online and a lot of our business, especially in lockdown, came through social media.

“We are having a website done for the shop in the background and we are on Etsy.

Beccles Shop Local Campaign. Left Craig Rivett, deputy council leader and Holly Hayward Director Saxons Soap shop. Pictures: BRITTANY WOODMANBeccles Shop Local Campaign. Left Craig Rivett, deputy council leader and Holly Hayward Director Saxons Soap shop. Pictures: BRITTANY WOODMAN

“We are looking to expand into a bigger shop in Beccles and I’m hoping to sign the lease any day now.

“It is going to be more of an experience for people who come out to see us.”

The business is family-run, with daughter Bex and son Ben also working at the shop in New Market, as well as support from extended family members.

Mrs Kisby said: “We introduced a lot of new things, such as our 1kg pick-and-mix bags which are just flying.

Beccles Shop Local Campaign. Holly Hayward Director Saxons Soap shop. Pictures: BRITTANY WOODMANBeccles Shop Local Campaign. Holly Hayward Director Saxons Soap shop. Pictures: BRITTANY WOODMAN

“On Saturdays, we have queues outside, even in the rain, which is crazy.

“We have been selling hampers for birthdays or as a thank you from parents to schools for everything they’ve been doing, or from businesses to their staff.

“They’re calling us the sweeties fairies, but these businesses want to support other local businesses.

“We have adapted how we sell and people have adapted how they buy.”

The store is one of a number in Waveney who have worked with East Suffolk Council following the launch of their own shop local campaign.

The council have complied information on safety measures, how businesses have adapted, guidance and advice.

Deputy council leader Craig Rivett said: “We have launched this great online campaign because it is important to reassure people that they can safely visit these excellent businesses and help our high streets.

“There are just over 60 days to Christmas and it is never too early to start thinking about it. It is commendable to see the resilience of local shop owners who have adapted to the current situation and made it work.”

Council leader Steve Gallant said: “Businesses have adapted quickly and shown great strength and tenacity.”

For more information, go to eastsuffolkmeansbusiness.co.uk.


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