Meet the 22-year-old bringing something sweet to Kettering's High Street
A 22-year-old entrepreneur is hoping to be a sweet addition to Kettering's town centre.
American confectioner Randalls has moved into the High Street’s Bean Hive as one its flagship retailers.
It’s the brainchild of Market Harborough man Jarrod Burke, who started out at The Yards in Market Street in 2015.
But despite always enjoying the occasional American sweet as a youngster, selling them wasn’t the career path he expected.
He said: “I used to go to college in Leicester and there was a really good store there, but it was so expensive.
“I started to look online to see if I could buy them any cheaper and found a wholesalers so applied for an account.
“I was working in a village shop so knew a bit about retail and I just decided to run a few stalls to see how popular they were and it just went mad.”
Three years and a few credit cards later, Jarrod now has stores in three towns - Kettering, Market Harborough (Church Square) and Northampton (Vintage Retreat).
But it’s the new store in Kettering’s High Street that excites him the most.
He said: “I thought it was just going to be a hobby but there’s a huge market for it.
“It seems to be growing and growing.
“I wouldn’t be where I am without The Yards.
“They gave me a chance and without that I definitely wouldn’t be where I am.
“But being on the High Street is mad, the footfall is amazing.”
Jarrod, who employs his mum to help run his hometown store, stocks about 500 different products in the new Kettering store.
They include American sweets, drinks, cereals and crisps with items constantly rotating.
Jarrod says his best-sellers are the sodas, Airhead chews, the Wonka range, American Pringles and American versions of corner shop staples such as Snickers and Twix.
He has the job of taste-testing most of his products, which doesn’t require too much persuasion, and lists the Milky Way Fudge as his favourite.
He said: “It’s the best thing I have ever tasted in my life.”
Occasionally, Jarrod has been the only retailer in the country to have certain products on his shelves.
He works an average of 65 hours a week and is hoping to launch online sales in 2019.
But he insists he doesn’t want an empire.
He said: “I do not want to have lots and lots of shops.
“The key for me is to treat your customers like they’re your family and they will keep on coming back.
“If I go any bigger I would be stuck behind a desk telling people what to do and that’s not me.
“I want to be able to get involved and speak to customers.”