Monday, January 14, 2013

News: Temperance Bar set to be added to Rotherham's retail mix


A retro Temperance Bar where customers can enjoy Sarsaparilla and other special cordials could open soon in Rotherham town centre.

The plans have been outlined by the enterprising owners of The Whistle Stop Sweet Shop in the Imperial Buildings as part of the next stage of growth for the company.

Plans include moving next door to take over a unit twice the size of its exiting one. The new space will be used to house an expanded sweet shop, a sweet manufacturing area and a Temperance Bar.

Popular in the North of England in the 19th century, the bars were established in conjunction with the Temperance Society who advocated a moderate approach to life and warned against excessive alcohol consumption.

Kara Chapman, owner of The Whistle Stop Sweet Shop, said: "Over the past two years we have constantly been asked by our customers to find and stock Sarsaparilla, as they remembered Rotherham's three Sarsaparilla Bars. We sourced the Sarsaparilla cordial from the only Temperance Bar left in England. We have been stocking this cordial range in our shop for the last six months, and the response has been fantastic."

The store opened in October 2010 offering a huge range of quality traditional, retro and modern sweets. It is hoping to access new financial support through the "Portas pilot" scheme operated by the council to help current retailers undertake significant business development projects.
Funding from UK Steel Enterprise's Kickstart Fund has also allowed the shop to launch an e-commerce website which has proved a springboard for growth.

The Kickstart Fund is a business finance scheme that provides grants of up to £500 to start-up businesses to purchase essential equipment and or services that can get them trading.

UK Steel Enterprise is a subsidiary of Tata Steel with a main investment fund that provides business finance in amounts from £25,000 up to £750,000 to companies in South Yorkshire and other areas affected by changes in the steel industry.

Kara added: "I think the website has given people confidence in us as a business. They find us on-line and then come down to see the shop. We have over 600 individual jars of sweets but it is our special gift packs that people look for on-line. We specialise in unusual gifts and when people come in the shop their faces glow at what they see on offer."

Allan Wood, regional executive for UK Steel Enterprise says the business has built itself a great platform for growth; "It is very customer focussed and with the combination of retail and manufacturing I can see this truly niche business going places in the future."

The Whistle Stop Sweet Shop website

UK Steel Enterprise website

Images: Whistle Stop Sweet Shop / UKSE


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