Anybody that walks past Price’s will instantly stop and stare, amazed at the delicious goodies that lie beyond the glass. Or maybe that’s just me. When Price’s first appeared at the end of last year, I was worried about the impact on my wallet (and waistline) that having such a heaven on the doorstep would have. Somehow I’ve managed to resist spending a small fortune in the store (sorry guys), but that doesn’t mean I don’t enjoy popping in every now and then to indulge my sweet tooth.
Steve and Deina Price very kindly invited me into their shop to shoot the store and learn a bit more about their business a few weeks ago, and being one of my favourite topics – confectionary – I naturally couldn’t resist.
I got to chatting with them both when I visited, and, being such a new shop, made for interesting listening. Steve and Deina live only down the road so they are able to open on Sundays unlike many of the other arcade shops with very low overheads. Deina told me it had been a long-time dream to own a sweet shop – a dream shared by many I’m sure – and had originally looked into opening as part of a franchise.
When that didn’t seem very likely, they began looking for their own shop to open in Cardiff and the arcades seemed to be the natural place to do that. After initially approaching the Morgan Arcade, they eventually settled on a High Street Arcade shop in November 2010.
They have seen good trade, and understandbly, that increases around the major holidays and school breaks. The biggest problem they have seen to date, like others, is the decreased footfall in the arcades brought on by the roadworks on Castle Street and High Street. Many people, they say, don’t realise the shop is there. In fact, while I was photographing a lady wandered in and seemed delighted by her discovery. According to Steve and Deina, that happens all the time. Once people know that the shop is there, they are hooked, but the problem is letting people know that they are there in the first place.
While on the one hand, the smaller outlay of their customers means they are likely to see more customers in an average day than the more expensive surrounding shops, they do have places like supermarkets to compete with. Steve revealed that they just don’t try to compete with the chain stores on St Mary Street for things like advent calendars and Easter eggs, instead investing money in better quality sweets that they sell for a fair price.
And speaking of the very important business of sweets, I asked them what their biggest sellers were. The old classic Rhubarb and Custard was quoted, along with Army and Navy – a sweet I confess I’d never heard of before. If you venture in to the shop, you might find yourself bewildered by the array of sweets on offer, but that doesn’t mean they’re not still caught out by unusual requests. The Price’s do try to accomodate as many different requests as possible, and as a rule of thumb will see if something gets requested three or more times before adding it to the repertoire.
As you’ll see in the pictures, there’s not just the old fashioned sweets in jars, but also ‘retro’ sweets that I remember from the 80s and 90s, which are just brilliant for a trip down memory lane. We’re talking wham bars, black jacks, sherbet dib dabs, parma violets and much, much more besides.
So before I start drooling into the keyboard, I shall leave you to look at the photos and encourage you to get along to Price’s Sweets in the High Street Arcade as soon as you humanly can – just try not to ask for one of every single sweet you can see as one American lady apparently once did… you might be there a while!
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