Collier Row sweet shop launches accompanied by Towie and Love Island stars
- Credit: Brett Cove
A Collier Row couple who started an Instagram business selling American sweets have launched their first permanent shop, with Towie and Love Island stars in attendance to cut the ribbon.
Mr P’s CornerShop is next to the pop-up shop they opened in November.
From a family of east London cornershop owners, Rahul Patel, 30, and his wife Bhavini, 28, decided to take the trade into the millennial market equipped with just £500 and an Instagram account.
Rahul said: “After having the idea for some time I saw a few people do the same up north and noticed it becoming a trend so decided to stop being lazy and get started. I woke up one Sunday and decided to go buy what I needed with an initial £500 and here we are today.”
Not only did the couple raise the funds for Mr P’s CornerShop in just a year since starting in March last year, but for the launch party, in full-Instagram fashion, Rahul manage to recruit The Only Way Is Essex stars Ella Rae Wise, Richie Maffia and Ricky Rayment, Love Island’s Jourdan Riane, rapper Kiico and musicians FourNine and Produced by Marc.
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He added: “The launch was beyond what I could have ever expected. Last weekend really did feel like a bit of a movie for me and the team.
“Just seeing the amount of people turn up and the smiles on each of their faces during a time like this meant the world.
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“When I take a moment to think about it all I’m genuinely over the moon with how our hard work has paid off more than anything.”
What’s the secret to success?
“A lot of people think this is an easy game to get involved in,” Rahul explains.
“What keeps us ahead is firstly my passion for what I do and the love of it all. The new shop is now my new office and the set-up of it makes me want to be there even on a day off!
“I also think the demand for these products has done well in Essex as it’s a place where we all like to live the high-life and these products are not your usual.
“Being so close to east London also helps as the prices in store are cheaper than those stores in central London.
“Lastly, I refuse to be beaten on my customer service and my product range. We have a lot of repeat custom because of this and have built relationships with everyone. We try to have a family feel with every customer rather than just a friendly smile.”
Has the pandemic been better or worse for business?
Before the couple’s new permanent residence, they had a pop-up shop next door, and continued to service Collier Row with deliveries and takeaways during lockdown.
Rahul says: “It’s been beneficial for the business because when most places were closed we were allowed to remain open, being a confectionary store.
“We had queues of people outside every day through the month of May as the only thing we all had to do was stay in and watch films and what better snacks to have alongside than ours!
“We enforced new measures within the store and outside and have enforced further measures to comply with the Covid regulations in the new store too. The only negative side of the pandemic for us was trying to keep up with the stock and meeting the demand but I think we managed pretty well.”
How do you get reality stars to come to your launch party?
“Sometimes you just hit gold!” Rahul chuckles.
He explained that in a marketing miracle he simply messaged them through Instagram and was lucky enough to get a reply.
Having said this, he admits that he went to school with Ricky Rayment and they have always been close. He also made the best of any mutual friendships and business relationships.