TILLS in the country’s “cheapest candy store” is constantly ringing with customers buying last-minute stocking stuffers for less than a shilling.
Everyone looking for a bargain, from children to grandparents, flocked to Goodies in the university town of Loughborough, Leicestershire, for delicious treats to give as gifts.
When The Sun Online visited a few days before Christmas, the store – full of treats, drinks, cookies, savory snacks as well as stuffed animals, calendars and books – was shocked.
The owner’s teenage stepson, Alex Rogers, said: ‘It’s crazy! It’s barely been a second since a customer has been here. People stock up on spares for storage and most spend under £10.
“The average expense is 5 francs, but some spend a little more.
“Times are tough with the cost of living crisis so a bargain shop like ours really helps people and this week is last minute before the big day.”
Assistant Alex, 16, smiles: “We’re super cheap and that’s why we’re always busy.
“We had a lot of people today, it’s non-stop.”
He is enjoying the sweet taste of success at the discount store in the Carillon Court shopping centre.
It was opened a year ago by his father-in-law Bez Norbury, 32, who prides himself on being a bit of a Del Boy wheeler dealer.
Goodies fan Carl Batterham said: “It’s great value and I’ve come for all my little socks”
The 40-year-old dad-of-two, whose excited children are Kales, 10, and little sister Millie, eight, spent £10.50 on his quick party shop of sweets and toiletries.
The supermarket clerk is a regular at the store because it’s “good for a bargain” and “stocks on goodies” and offers different products from the chain he works for.
Brothers Leighton Welham, 12, and Riley, nine, were busy buying presents for family and each other.
They had spent £20 each, given to them as an early gift by their aunt.
Riley said: “We use our money to buy gifts for other people. There’s a lot of choice.
Riley picked up a brown teddy bear and told his big brother how much he would love it and encouraged him to buy the pressie with no surprises.
Leighton said he enjoys buying for others, saying it is “sometimes more fun than receiving”.
Mum-of-two Bex Elcock went into the store – which undercuts supermarket chains and independents and claims to be Britain’s ‘cheapest sweet shop’ – to buy sweets for her husband.
The dental clinic manager, 30, told how she wisely limited her children’s sweets, saying: “They want everything here but they’d be off their rocker if they ate it – way too much sugar and e-numbers (food additives ). ).”
She told our team: “They are allowed to consume sweets in small doses but I am here to buy Christmas stockings for my F1 engineer husband Ross.
“I spent £9.50 and bought him some sweets, yes he is allowed, and his favorite Chilli Lime Takis snacks. He will be happy.”
‘THE BEST KETTLE I HAVE HAD’
Regular Roberta Henry, 64, was shopping with her sister Fiona McLaughlin and said: “We come here all the time for cheap everyday stuff.”
The mum-of-three added: “The kids are big so we don’t buy for them just for us!
“These are basic things like tea, coffee and of course sweets and chips.
“I come once a week and I always spend around ten euros. Once I even bought a kettle for £10 and it’s the best kettle I’ve had.”
Her retired older sister Fiona, 69, told how she also indulged in ‘cheap sweets and crisps’ and recently bought two fancy new pillows for £6 a pair, which she describes as ‘lovely’.
Alex, who is a university student but works as a part-time cashier, said the store “needs to keep the cheap items to sell”.
He said: “If they are too expensive, nobody will buy. We do well because we are always being pushed around and the same customers come over and over again.
“The cost of living has made people really worried and they are always checking and re-checking prices, they are careful and need to manage their money.”
Alex, working alone while Bez went out to buy more stock, said: “We’ve had a hard time restocking but somehow we manage. The shelves can never be empty so we keep fullness and fullness.
“We use different wholesalers and we get the cheapest we can to pass the price on to our customers.”
He said the best deals on items were two and three for £1 and “people are really buying a lot now because it’s Christmas”.
American drinks proved popular – two cans for £1.50 and the huge selection of sweets including favorite Galaxy chocolate and dairy milk, as well as festive chocolate coins and reindeer.
Alex said the most a customer has spent recently is £32, but that was “a one-off”.
He added: “Our stock is constantly changing so we always offer new products and our customers range from children to pensioners. Everyone comes looking for a bargain.”
New parents Andrew Rhys-Knightly, 26, and his partner Georgia Gordin, 22, were “stocking shopping”.
Green-haired Georgia said: “Our budget £5-10 but you can get a lot for that money. We come here often and have never spent more than £20.”
Choosing “Sour Patch Kids” American strawberry gummies as a treat for your partner.
The couple have a newborn son, Noah, but he’s “too young for treats here,” his mother smiled.
Chef Andrew, 26, added: “It’s surprising how much you can get for your money here and it suits our pockets.
“We focus on buying gifts for people, sweets and cookies are our favourites.
“We saw the store ad on Facebook when it opened and we come here every time we’re in town and they always change their stock.
“I never fail to spend more than a five here.”
Our Sun Online photographer Terry couldn’t resist a bargain and after taking his pictures of happy blokes and cops bought four cans of root beer for £3 – two for £1.50 – which he later said when he got home “tasty.”
Full price list:
- Two cans of American pop root beer for £1.50 or 12 cans for £7
- Two bars of Green & Black’s chocolate for £1.50 and sold elsewhere for £2 each.
- Mix and match two candies for £1 – choice of chocolate Dairy Milk Oreo, Galaxy, Bonds Strawberry candies and Gummy eyeballs, Haribo, among many others
- Mix and match three sweets for £1 – honey toffee comb, Sainsbury’s pin and vanilla marshmallow
- Hot water bottle – labeled “Hottie £1 wow!”
- Two John Lewis and Debenhams branded cushions for £6
- Kettle DKK 10
- Advent Calendars now £1, down from £4 and retailing elsewhere for £14.99