Asharq Al-awsat English Middle-east and International News and Opinion from Asharq Al-awsat Newspaper

Sales at World's Oldest Sweet Shop Flourish During Pandemic

Sales at World's Oldest Sweet Shop Flourish During Pandemic

Thursday, 24 September, 2020 - 06:00
Smarties candy rolls are seen in this image taken in Washington on March 22, 2009. (Karen Bleier/AFP/Getty Images)

The world's oldest sweet shop has seen sales soaring during the pandemic as people flock to the historic venue for sugary treats. The building, in Nidderdale, Yorkshire, dates back to the 1600s and has been home to a confectionary shop since 1827. Outside its door hangs a sign that says: "The Oldest Sweet Shop in England" but the Guinness Book of Records lists it as the oldest continually trading sweet shop anywhere in the world, according to The Metro.

Keith Tordoff, who has been the proprietor for nearly a quarter of a century, said: "It's extremely busy, phenomenal. It's a reassurance, perhaps. I don't know anybody who can walk into a sweet shop without a smile on their face." The store serves traditional sweets including licorice and lime sweets, sour sherbert dips in paper bags, humbugs in glass jars, white mice, rhubarb and custard sweets, and bon bons.

Tordoff is a retired West Yorkshire police officer who was previously awarded an MBE for his public service. He took over the sweet shop with his wife 25 years ago and said thinks people are turning to it because they want something to brighten up their lives during difficult times.

"At a time of any recession, or depression, what brighten people's lives are memories. This is somewhere grandparents or even great-grandparents bring the children," he said. "I've been here for nearly a quarter of a century, but I still get that sense of excitement. It's not changed the history of it. And the one thing that people always turn to is sweets. It does bring back a nostalgic feel of more happy times. And most folks have a bit of spare change in their pocket, to buy themselves a bag of comfort," he added.

The shop featured in Robbie Coltrane's ITV series exploring some of the UK's most undiscovered places. More recently it has been visited by big names including chef and television presenter Paul Hollywood, food writer, broadcaster and presenter Nigel Slater, and BBC presenter Clare Balding.

Editor Picks