Sweet success for Romford shop
I’m in a sweet shop surrounded by hundreds of jars of luminous sugar-coated treats, pretty packages of fudge and overflowing racks of candy canes.
So why am I standing here like a mug chewing on what looks and smells like a wooden twig?
Readers of a certain age will recognise this ‘twig’ as none other than a natural liquorice stick, the type that post-Second World War youngsters could find in most sweet shops.
It’s also just one of the unusual treats at the Original Sweet Shop, which opened in South Street, Romford, two weeks ago.
Floor to ceiling shelves of boiled sweets line the walls, while the Mary Poppins tune Spoonful of Sugar plays over the speakers and the smell of caramel popcorn wafts out the door.
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“Everyone comes in and says: ‘I feel like a kid in a sweet shop’ and thinks it’s the first time we’ve heard it,” co-owner Rachelle Orgel, 43, says.
“You hear parents say: ‘This is what sweet shops were like when I was a kid. Sweets came in jars and you could buy them in pounds and ounces.’”
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As the name suggests, the shop prides itself on offering a vast range of treats from bygone eras. Sherbet lemons, pear drops, maple brazils, aniseed twists and of course natural liquorice sticks are some of its more popular requests.
Rachelle, who has worked in sweet shops across east London for the last two years, said: “We do get screams of delight and amazement when people walk in – it’s the memories of childhood.
“Everybody has their favourite sweets from decades ago and to find some available again is lovely.
“The liquorice root smells and looks a bit like a tree. If you saw someone walking along chewing it, you’d think they were mad. But I think the older people buy them for the memories.”
Even I get a bit of a buzz when I stumble upon my favourite Australian brand of liquorice (not natural!) that I haven’t been able to find since I left the mother-country four years ago.
It seems the only treat the shop hasn’t been able to get its hands on is spangles.
“They were hard-boiled squares which dipped in the middle and came in different fruit flavours,” Rachelle said, adding “They weren’t even that special but everyone remembers them and they’re the one thing we can’t find.”