SWEET shop institution Mr Chewsy is back in business, with its original owner behind the counter.
Inspired by posts he saw on Facebook of people reminiscing about sweets from their childhood, John McConnell has set up the shop in Stoke Road, Gosport.
It opened its doors last month and the 64-year-old says he’s been buoyed by the response from the community.
The grandad-of-three, who used to be in the Royal Air Force, said: ‘It’s going very well so far.
‘The customers are absolutely lovely. It’s a great community here.’
In 1992 John, from Bridgemary, began running a sweet shop in Nobes Avenue called Mr Chewsy. It closed in 1994 when he moved to London.
But more than a decade later he saw posts on ‘The Gosport Area: memories and photos, past and present’ Facebook group with people discussing the shop – so he decided to go back into the confectionery business.
He set up a shop called Chewsy Too in Brewers Lane, but closed two years later due to low footfall. After a short stint sharing a shop in Gregson Avenue with a wedding business, he was forced to put his sweet dreams on hold.
Everything went into storage, until he found the new premises in Stoke Road.
He said: ‘It used to be an estate agent, but in between times somebody had opened a Caribbean shop, so there were shelves and fridges already put in.
‘I moved into a reasonably well-decorated shop, which had been done out. I was lucky, it was perfect.’
John has called the shop Mr Chewsy, in a nod to his first shop. He has employed two staff – Hailie Wills and Jade Bagnall – and he has set up a scheme called Project G where teenagers spend two weeks working at the shop to get retail experience.
The shop has a range of jar sweets, milkshakes and syrups.
The most popular sweets so far are chocolate nibbles and toffee crumble – but John says his favourites are the super shrimps, foam bananas and pint pots.