Hybrid flower-sweet shop blooms and plans to flourish

A combined flower and sweet shop in Sunderland is planning its expansion as it celebrates a successful first six months of trading.

Flowers by Jennifer and Pop’s Candy in Blandford Street opened in March, after co-owner Jennifer Dawson was made redundant from her previous role.

Sharing 40 years’ experience in the floristry industry with husband Frederick, the pair opted to launch their own venture, selling more than 240 varieties of traditional sweets and an array of bouquets.

Having welcomed hundreds of customers through their doors – and buoyed by current campaigns encouraging people to shop local – Fred and Jenn are now discussing plans to expand their offering and retail space, once trading conditions improve further.

Fred said: “I owned my own florist up until the last recession in 2007 and taught floristry at Sunderland College’s Hylton Campus, while Jenn worked in the industry for over 20 years until her previous role came to an end in March.

“Initially, we’d decided to delay launching the business due to the pandemic, however faced with the prospect of having no fixed income and the uncertainty of not knowing how long the crisis would last, we decided to just go for it and we haven’t looked back since.”

The couple have used funding from the North East Business and Innovation Centre (BIC) to launch the business, specifically the New Enterprise Allowance Programme (NEA), a national programme ran by JobCentre Plus to help kick start new businesses.

Jenn added: “While it has been challenging during the pandemic, especially when local lockdown measures were introduced, we are looking forward to the future and hopefully bringing a little bit of cheer to people during what is such a difficult time for people.”

Janice Marsh, business adviser and trainer at the North East BIC, said: “It’s been great working with Jenn and Fred on the opening of Flowers by Jennifer and Pop’s Candy and we’re delighted to have helped them get the business off the ground.”