A YOUNG entrepreneur who has seen his American sweetshop business go from strength to strength is targeting further expansion and growth in 2014.
Ian Philpott opened Yankee Doodle Candy in May 2012 after realising the demand for American brands such as Oreos, Hersheys, Jelly Belly and Twinkies was on the rise and there was no one place to buy them in the North East.
And after a trip to London where he discovered specialist sweetshops were commonplace, he decided to take the plunge and opened up his first Yankee Doodle Candy shop at the Metro Centre in Gateshead.
Another at Eldon Square in Newcastle quickly followed and after seeing turnover in both stores steadily increase, the 33-year-old from Castle Eden is now in the market for other prime locations to expand, both regionally and further afield.
Ian, who is married with two children, said: “I’ve always loved American sweets and I could see demand for brands such as Oreos, Vanilla Coca Cola and Jelly Belly was really growing. They were becoming so popular and when I went to London and saw how readily available they were, it really got me thinking about the potential for opening that type of business in the North East. I felt there was a real gap in the market waiting to be filled.”
After initially opening the business and running it with his wife Leanne, Ian now employs 20 people including two apprentices and plans to double his workforce on 2014. And he is now actively looking for premises to open a third Yankee Doodle Candy shop in the region and is exploring the possibility of taking it nationally, possible as a franchise.
He also makes it his priority to research customer trends and listen to feedback to ensure he stays ahead of the game, which resulted in him stocking savoury brands such as Pringles in less common flavours including Jalapeno, Buffalo Wing, Loaded Baked Potato and Mexican.
“The main thing is I don’t rest on my laurels. I know who my competitors are and it’s down to me to ensure I stay ahead of them.”
Yankee Doodle Candy also stocks brands including Cookie Dough, Angry Birds, M&Ms, Flipz, Jolly Ranchers and Nerds.
For more information or to set up an interview with Ian contact Leanne English, Director of LEC Consultancy, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
To find out more about Yankee Doodle Candy, visit www.yankeedoodlecandyuk.com.