The owner of a new Teesside store selling old fashioned sweets says the opening was inspired by an increased demand for a sugar rush during the Covid crisis.
Owner Jamie Johnson says opening Yummy Sweet Treats and Gifts, the newest store in Middlesbrough’s Cleveland Centre, has fulfilled his boyhood dream – but he couldn’t have done it without the support of his family.
Having seen his four-year-old online business thrive since lockdown, Jamie has opened his first store with the volunteer support of husband Grant, mum Chell, sisters Mia, Suranne and Sharon plus best friend Chloe.
Jamie was a foster child and brought up by Sandra (Jamie’s Foster mum) who’s no longer with us. But she would be so proud of us opening a new business and one I’ve focused on for so long.
Yummy Sweet Treats specialise in old fashioned sweets such as Sherbet Lemons, Cola Cubes,Fly Saucers and Rhubarb and Custard, along with modern sweets, gifts and cards.
Jamie, who previously ran an online store after managing another Middlesbrough sweet shop, admits he’s fulfilling sweet dreams.
“As a kid, I always wanted to own a sweet shop and now here I am,” he said. “My foster mum, Sandra, is no longer with us but she would be so proud of me opening this business that I’ve focused on for so long.
“While many businesses have struggled due to Covid, we’re one of the fortunate ones who’ve taken off.
“Things just went crazy following lockdown in March. Everybody needs their sugar rush and the business had taken over my two bedrooms, kitchen diner and garage. I wanted my home back so I decided now was the time to go for it.”
It’s fair to say Jamie’s enjoying the sweet smell of success.
“It’s been a really positive response since opening,” he said. “There’s nothing like it in Middlesbrough, which is why we chose to come here.
“New places are opening here, there’s a city centre feel and we’re in the perfect position in the Cleveland Centre to attract a wide range of sweet-lovers, from young students to the elderly.
While Jamie’s favourites are Coconut Mushrooms and Sugar Lemons, he says the biggest hits with customers are Liquorice Sticks, Bon Bons, Mega Lollipops and Kali.
“Those are our big sellers so far,” revealed the 23-year-old, who also sells a range of mugs, cups and celebration cards.
“I did my research and opened in Newton Mall because it’s Cleveland Centre’s busiest mall, especially around Christmas and with plenty of walk-through.”
After officially opening the store with Jamie, Cleveland Centre manager Graeme Skillen said: “It’s fantastic that Jamie is opening a new independent store in the Cleveland Centre to add to our already wide-range of retailers.
“Bringing a traditional confectioner into the Centre is sure to prove a big hit with shoppers, plus Yummy Sweet Treats can count on me and my colleagues as their regular customers!”
Yummy Sweet Treats and Gifts is open Monday to Saturday, 9.30am to 5pm.