Aniseed balls! Much-loved Portsmouth sweet shop to shut its doors because of competition from chain stores

IT'S been a popular point of call for many families for the past six years but its owner has thrown in the towel and announced its closure.

Tuesday, 24th January 2017, 5:55 am
Sue Neale at the Drayton Sweet Jar, which is closing on January 31 Picture: Jennifer Althorpe

Sue Neale, who runs Drayton Sweet Jar in Havant Road, said she can no longer compete with the cheap prices at chain stores like B&M and she is shutting up shop and switching careers.

The traditional sweet shop will serve its last treats on Tuesday, January 31.

Sue, 52, said: ‘Ever since B&M opened up nearby last year my sales have gone down. I can’t compete.

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‘Lots of parents say they go there with their children. Even the shop next door which sells bird feed has seen a drop in sales.

‘I noticed the difference when the schools went back last year. Normally the school rush was really busy, then B&M opened and it was quiet.

‘After Christmas I said to my husband that I couldn’t afford to go on any longer. It got to the point where I was simply not taking any money.’

Regular customer Jenny Althorpe, who often visited the shop with her children, said: ‘We feel so very sad.

‘Sad because we love this shop, its sweets and how they help you both reminisce about and create memories all at the same time.

‘Sad because it seems that more of our own wonderful childhood experiences are being diminished from our own children’s childhood.

‘And sad because I doubt the staff at places like B&M would offer the same compassion, care, conversation and genuine friendship that Sue gifts all of her customers.’

Sue, who took over the shop four years ago, said she’ll be looking for a change in career, although she hopes to stay in a customer-facing role.

She said: ‘I want to thank all the customers for their support over the years. I have met some really lovely customers. I am going to miss them coming in for a good chatter.’

Sue still has until September until the lease runs out on the shop. It is not known what it will become after.