Sweet shop owners Kara and Tony Chapman’s ambitious plans to expand into the wedding market have received a £1,500 boost after the couple won the prize for the best pitch at a Rotherham business competition.
The husband and wife team run the Whistle Stop Sweet Shop in Rotherham’s Imperial Buildings, which sells an extensive range of traditional, retro and modern sweets.
They also cater for weddings by providing buffets, centrepiece bouquets and buttonholes made from sweets – and that is a side of the business where they can see opportunities to expand.
Kara and Tony outlined their plans to a Dragons’ Den-style panel at an event for firms that have been trading for three years or less, organised by Rotherham Enterprise Board and UK Steel Enterprise.
Kara Chapman paid tribute to Barnsley and Rotherham Chamber of Commerce business community support officer Peter Robinson, who has been advising the business and helped them hone their award winning pitch.
“Peter offered to listen to us running through our pitch prior to the day and gave a lot of very helpful feedback,” said Kara.
“This helped focus our minds on certain areas of the pitch and, without that assistance, I don’t think we’d have stood a chance.
“It was typical of the commitment Peter has shown to helping us. He regularly pays us a visit and provides some excellent suggestions which have really had an impact when we have implemented them. His expertise has been priceless in helping us get to where we are today.”
Tony said the cash would help the Whistle Stop Sweet Shop develop the weddings side of the business.
“That side of the business is really popular and profitable at present,” said Tony.
“We’ve also found weddings give us an opportunity to generate future business, as you can market yourself to large numbers of guests.”