Jake Bates, from Tupton created Candy Slam six weeks ago after he was furloughed from his job as a sales manager for Only The Vape in Chesterfield due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
The business specialises in sourcing and retailing sweets, crisps, cakes and drinks from America, Japan, Germany, Dubai, India, Malaysia and Spain – is located on Stephenson Place, in a shop which the 25-year-old’s current boss has given to him free of charge while the company gets up and running.
While Candy Slam is currently only open for Click and Collect orders and online orders, Jake is hopeful to welcome customers into the premises for the first time when non-essential retail is allowed to reopen on April 12.
The shop offers offer a selection of ‘the world's finest and rarest candy, chocolate, drinks, cereals and bakery treats’.
Candy Slam has tripled the number of items they supply in recent weeks, now stocking over 400 products from all over the world and received more than 300 orders.
One of the business’ most popular products are mystery boxes, which contain an assortment of treats and snacks, along with custom surprise hampers.
Jake credited social media and the company’s new website for its success.
"We've had a really good reaction, it has been really busy”, he added.
"It is mainly through people seeing the social media posts and the website that they have thought 'oh can you get these?' and it has lead down a bit of a rabbit hole getting different, niche items for people.
"But the response has been great.”
Jake is still working for the vape shop with reduced hours, as his employer Mark Wilks has allowed him to juggle both his new venture and his current sales job, which are in the same building while he builds Candy Slam up.
He came to his boss and close friend with the idea for the sweets business and Mark – who runs four vape shops – has helped to set up the company and provided him with graphic design and website contacts.
“He generously offered me some space within his existing shop to start the business rent free and has mentored me through the start up process”, he said.
"I know he has built his own business up, it has given me a bit of peace of mind having him there to mentor me, particularly if I have any worries or questions.
"It has given me the confidence to go out there and do it as well, so I am just really thankful for that opportunity because I know it is not something that is the norm.
"Usually if you were setting up the business you would have to take the plunge and it is a large financial outlay.
"Whereas this way is sort of very low risk and I've not had to put a lot of money into it other than the stock and shop fittings.”
Jake plans to build on the imported sweets business’ success in a relatively short period of time and open more shops in the future.