Dagenham sweet shop couple retire after 26 years

Penny Dettmar measuring a pile of News of the World at Candy's in the 1990s.

Penny Dettmar measuring a pile of News of the World at Candy's in the 1990s. - Credit: Archant

A couple who made their love of sweets a livelihood are swapping liquorice for leisure.

Candy's in Whitebarn Lane, Dagenham, as it looked in 1990.

Candy's in Whitebarn Lane, Dagenham, as it looked in 1990. - Credit: Archant

After 26 years of blood, sweat and sugar, Colin and Penny Dettmar, both 61, handed over Candy’s convenience store to its new owners last month.

The grandparents took over the shop back in 1990, after seeing it was up for sale next to their second-hand car business in Whitebarn Lane, Dagenham.

“We decided that the local community around there still required a sweet shop,” explained Penny.

The pair were keen to preserve the store’s role at the heart of the community as it had been since the 1940s.


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“We kept it all very traditional and very much for the family.”

Just four years in, and the couple decided to close down the car shop and expand the sweet shop into a grocery store selling everything from papers to fireworks. But the core of the business remained sweets – with everything from toffee crumble to fruit salads, black jacks and liquorice on sale.

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“We were the biggest penny sweet shop in the area,” said Penny, who lived with Colin in Felton Road, Barking, until moving to Aveley 15 years ago.

“When people moved away they couldn’t stop coming back and buying sweets. We would see customers who had once come as children bring their children.”

The Dettmars also turned their hand to charity work, raising more than £6,000 for Saint Francis Hospice, Romford, with pop ‘n’ rock duo Chas & Dave in 2008.

After years of sweet success, they are looking forward to retirement. But Penny admits they will miss their community role.

“Candy’s wasn’t just another shop, it was a one-off shop, a place where you could just pop in for a chat. We met some amazing people and we will miss them,” she said.

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