A SUPPORT worker who started selling sweets from her home during lockdown has opened her first physical shop in Southend after her business grew in popularity.

Sarah Wilson, 34, was working as a carer in Southend before the pandemic hit and began giving out sweets to her family and friends in a bid to cheer them up.

However, the goodies proved a huge hit and now she has opened “Sugar Sweet CandyLand” on Southchurch Road.

The business was started with just £100 from the utility room at her Southend home.

The shop aims to offer something for everyone, with sugar free, gluten free, dairy free, vegan, vegetarian, and halal sweets all on offer.

Sarah said: “At first it was never a ‘business’, and was never about making money, and to be honest it still isn’t.

“I brought sweets to cheer friends and family during the bleak lockdown, and then was asked by those people if I could do the same for their friends’, and people started to then pay a small contribution.

“It then just grew from there, and I quickly outgrew my utility room.

“My daughter is vegetarian, so that is why I did a vegetarian and vegan range, then a lot of my family are diabetic, so sugar free was so important.

“Sweets should be enjoyed by everyone, and now somehow I am here with a sweet shop. It has happened so fast, but I am absolutely loving it.”

The shop aims to mimic a traditional sweet shop, with a modern feel.

It also offers a service where customers can fill up their own sweet jar, sweet hamper, sweet bouquets, and cones.

Sarah revealed the shop has already been a huge hit.

She said: “The locals love the shop, they all say how it reminds them of their childhood, and as I am open to trying to get sweets people loved, they often tell me what sweets they would love to see stocked, which I try to do.

“It has been described by the schoolchildren as Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory.

“It is definitely a happy place to be and definitely what is needed.

“It is all very exciting as I haven’t run a shop before, so it is all new, but it is a one-of-a-kind chic sweet shop, and who knows what the future holds, maybe I will have many sweet shops.”