Showcasing Simpkins sweets

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Adrian Simpkins has big shoes to fill.

His company, Sheffield-based family sweet manufacturer Simpkins, is one of the city’s long-standing businesses.

Based in Hillsborough, Simpkins was founded in 1921 by Adrian’s grandfather Albert Leslie Simpkin after he returned from the First World War. His concept was to manufacture high quality glucose confections, using only natural flavours and colours. He sold his confectionery through chemist and pharmacy shops, helping him to build up a niche market and avoid direct competition with large confectionery manufacturers.

Simpkins is part of the current Made in Sheffield exhibition at the Millennium Gallery, which showcases established businesses alongside brand new start-up ventures and artisan makers.

Adrian, the current joint managing director of the company - which exports sweets to over 50 countries, including Japan, America and Australia - is keen to continue the long history of Simpkins to manufacturing high grade handcrafted sweets in the city.

“It’s really important for us that we continue to produce our sweets using traditional methods – from using the original recipe and processes to continuing to manufacturer at the original factory in Hillsborough,” said Adrian.

“We’ve been exporting since the 1930s – my grandfather was a great explorer and liked to travel the world. He would visit pharmacies on his travels and discovered there was no high grade chemist confectionery, so started supplying shops all over the globe.

“One of our main strengths is our dedicated workforce – from the master sugar boilers, to the production operatives and the packers, who all ensure that the product which goes out the door is the finest available.

“The Made in Sheffield exhibition is a fantastic window to the world, showcasing the making and manufacturing which happens in Sheffield. We have such a vast array of hidden gems which we just don’t shout about.”