The brains behind a new sweet shop in Shrewsbury thinks running a business is child’s play – and at just six years of age little Mollie Price is the UK’s youngest entrepreneur.
Mollie’s mum, Becky Price, has opened the third branch of Mollie’s, a modern sweetshop selling traditional British sweets and American candy, in the town’s Pride Hill Shopping Centre.
And according to Becky, the shop is organised and stocked to her daughter’s strict instructions – as are her Welshpool and Newtown stores.
Becky said: “It might sound crazy but believe me Mollie is the real brains behind the operation. She dictates what we sell and is up at 5am every Sunday ready to go to our wholesale suppliers in Birmingham to restock.
“Once there she very carefully chooses what we buy and what we should and should not stock. She really is very particular. And it seems to work as we have been incredibly busy since opening our latest store in Pride Hill.
“However, we have a prime location and chose Pride Hill because it’s incredibly vibrant and always busy. And of course we have the benefit of seven day trading which is a huge help to a business such as ours.”
But Becky says she always listens to her daughter’s advice when it comes to running he sweetshops.
She said: “Mollie has always loved sweetshops whether it’s drawing colourful pictures of shops stocked to the rafters with sweets of all colours or watching films such as Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, which is her all-time favourite.
“And she has some wonderful ideas. For instance, we have two large tin soldiers standing guard at the entrance to our Pride Hill shop which she insisted are called Alfie and George after her two brothers.
“She also came up with the idea of a temperature chart on the wall in Pride Hill so if it’s really cold we sell our Mr Whippy ice creams cheaper than when it’s hot outside. For someone so young I believe that really shows a marvellous business brain.”
And Becky says she has plans to introduce more American candy and a candy floss machine into the Pride Hill store in the near future.
She said: “Mollie loved it when we went on holiday to America and came back full of ideas of selling candy back home. That’s why we already stock more than 50 flavours of Jelly Belly beans.
“And Mollie now wants us to have an M&M’s colour coded section which is something we are going to do. We have also installed a Slush bar and the latest Mr Whippy machine which automatically pipes on different flavoured sauces.
“Nothing is done in any of the shops without consulting Mollie. And, believe me, if she doesn’t think an idea will work she has no hesitation in telling you so.
“I suppose, by listening to Mollie what we are doing is ensuring our shops appeal to all ages.”
Kevin Lockwood, Manager of the Darwin, Pride Hill and Riverside Shopping Centres, said: “In retail the trick is to know what your customers want and to provide it for them and thanks to Mollie they’ve got a real inside track to what children like in a sweetshop.
“And it is great to see an old-fashioned sweet shop like this doing so well with so many of the old favourite sweets still as popular as ever – there’s a been a real buzz at the store ever since it opened.”
And Becky says the Pride Hill shop has created four new part time jobs with the promise of more on the horizon.
She said: “I opened the first branch of Mollies in Welshpool where we live in November 2010 and followed that up by opening the second branch in Newtown a year later.
“We opened the doors to the Pride Hill store in May this year and, although I want to take my time, I will be looking at other potential sites in the future.
“I am currently running the Shrewsbury store myself but will need a full-time manager when we are ready to open a fourth branch of Mollie’s.
“However, that’s in the future and I am just delighted at how well our Pride Hill branch has been received by Shrewsbury shoppers and visitors. It has been incredibly busy right from day one.
“It’s been fantastic and I am absolutely delighted with how it’s gone so far. And I know Mollie is pretty thrilled too.”
Mollie, who attends Buttington Primary School in Welshpool, says she wants to help run her sweetshops when she’s older.
She said: “I really love sweetshops and I like seeing them all colourful and everyone really happy.
“Children have the best ideas. I tell my mum what I think and she always says I have good ideas. It’s just that I know what other children like.”