The Martinborough Sweet Shop

An olde worlde place of deliciousness

Enjoyment of sweets appears to be universal.  There appears to be no easier way to bring a smile to someone’s face than to offer them something sweet.  As a child, with a very sweet tooth, I was always attracted to sweet shops, or the sweet section in a shop.  Also, my favourite parts in books were always about the sweets the characters would eat.  So, a natural progression of this would be to open a sweet shop at some stage in my life!  The stars aligned by my living in Martinborough from 2016 and noticing that an old fashioned sweet shop would fit the style and aesthetic of the village very well.  The first hurdle was finding a retail space that would be appropriate.  I was fortunate enough to meet Rebecca and Neil Cheveliar who owned several retail spaces in Martinborough in early 2019 and by May 2019 I had taken over the lease of 8 Kitchener Street.  Rebecca and Neil were so supportive and kind and allowed me to put all my wild ideas into place, even when I couldn’t exactly articulate the vision that was in my head! 

Being an avid Harry Potter and Willy Wonka fan I knew the exact style I wanted the shop to have: an olde worlde place of deliciousness with a touch of Martinborough.  Hence there are lots of wine barrels and a wine rack of chocolate in the shop!  I wanted children (and adults) to be able to come into the shop and get a sense of wonder and delight at all the delicious sweet treats on offer and for the experience to be highly visually appealing.  Given 8 Kitchener Street is actually a very large retail space there was a lot of scope for my imagination.  It was a huge amount of fun to create the various spaces in the shop like the Gourmet Jelly bean cellar and the Chocolate Tasting Room.  Some ideas that were too wacky got vetoed by friends and family more sensible than myself (e.g., I had an idea stuck in my head for the walk-way into the Chocolate Tasting Room to be turned into an entry into Narnia, with customers having to walk through lots of fur coats…).

I was very blessed to have lots of help in the practical tasks of turning 8 Kitchener Street into The Martinborough Sweet Shop.  My parents, my husband and my friends all did so much painting and heavy lifting and the landlords created a new kitchen and bathroom and provided wonderful style advice.  It was a mammoth effort to open on 1 June 2019 but we did and were very much surprised at the public reaction to the shop.  From the time it has opened The Martinborough Sweet Shop has been busy, particularly in the weekends.  Feedback has been incredibly positive and it seems the hunch was right that this was a concept that was right for the Martinborough market.  People come to Martinborough to treat themselves, and it turns out that sweets are a great accompaniment to the wonderful wine and food that is also on offer in this beautiful village!

One consequence of this success and busyness was the inability for me to continue running the shop and managing my career as a clinical psychologist at the same time.  A decision was made in 2020 for me to view the shop as being a place I created, and to pass the baton on to someone else who could love it and have the skills to market it properly. 

And now it’s our turn…..Jane and Ivan.  As Martinborough locals we heard, through the grapevine, that Jane was selling this fabulous sweet shop in January this year.  We had been looking for a small business since moving permanently to Martinborough in May 2017.  Prior to this time we were weekenders for 15 years so had spent a bit of time here.

Who could resist the Willy Wonka, Harry Potter inspired shop, with all its containers of sweets that bring back those amazing memories of childhood, our grandparents, nostalgia!

I spent a weekend in the shop with Jane and Sarah in March and the excitement I saw on peoples faces when they walked in and saw the sweets on display or did a chocolate tasting was so amazing.  Everyone found something different that had meaning to them

And then along came Covid-19……

We took ownership of the Sweet Shop on the 1st April and as yet have been unable to open our doors to the public.  We can’t wait until we are able to do this and plan to continue on with the shop as Jane had intended.  The one big change we are making is to go online.  To date we have a Facebook page – and a website and online store  where all your favourites are available for local delivery from 28th April.

We look forward to seeing everyone once we can open the shop.