“Happy” is how Gina Price describes herself as she opens the door on her Traditional Sweet Shop in Keswick every morning.
She could not be happier with her life as “the sweet lady” after swapping her job as a buyer for the Birmingham store of the former Staples stationery chain and taking over the old-fashioned shop in 2014.
The shop, in Packhorse Court, has been a popular attraction for locals and visitors — aged from three to 93 — for the last 20 years.
Gina said: “Staples was set to close the store where I worked and I was to be made redundant. I just couldn’t face being the new girl in the office in my 40s.
“I had always come on holiday to the Lake District and Keswick was my favourite destination, so I decided to take a step back from the rat race and move here and open a sweet shop.”
Now. instead of her stressful commute into Birmingham, Gina travels on the A591 from Bothel, where she has made her home, and regularly takes a photo of Skiddaw which she sends to friends and former colleagues to show them the stunning views on the way to work.
“It couldn’t be better really — I love being the sweet lady as the shop really makes people happy,” she said.
“Everybody who comes in has a smile on their face as they look along the shelves at the sweets and take a step back in time to the tastes of their childhood.
“By far the most popular sweets are the Lion brand of gums and, in particular, midget gems, which seem to be everyone’s favourite.”
The most unusual sweet stocked in the Traditional Sweet Shop is coltsfoot rock.
“Nobody seems to have heard of Coltsfoot rock, which is made from coltsfoot extract, a plant with hoof-shaped leaves. It is quite an unusual taste and people often take it home for friends,” said Gina.
She and her assistant, Martin Graham, have had a busy time over the last few weeks, including schools’ autumn half-term.
“Martin came with the shop. He has worked here for many years and is totally reliable and knowledgeable on our stock,” added Gina.