Spending time with Black Jacks, Fruit Salads, Gobstoppers, Drumsticks, Candy Necklaces, and Bonbons would be most people’s idea of heaven and luckily for Michael Parker he gets to do just that every day. As founder of retro online sweetshop A Quarter Of, it’s Michael’s job to relive childhood memories everyday, by filling his shop with sweets from the past. Neandra Etienne decided to have a chat with him to find out what it’s like to own your very own sweetshop.

Neandra Etienne for QoV: When did A Quarter Of first go live online?

Michael Parker: We first went live in July 2002. 

QoV: How did you come up with the name?


Michael Parker:We remembered that people who ran sweetshops always weighed out the sweets carefully in those big scales with the silver weighing pan so it seemed natural to use A Quarter Of. In those days it was a quarter of a pound of sweets (about 4 ounces) whereas today we follow the metric system so it’s a quarter of a kilogram (250gm).

QoV: Why did you decide to specialise in retro sweets?


Michael Parker: I was reminiscing in the pub with my brother about Anglo Bubbly and wondered if the sweets we remembered from our childhood were still around. Having found out that the vast majority were, gave me the impetus to start trading online. I felt an online site would be a good idea, particularly as I had knowledge in this area. Today, as well as retro sweets, A Quarter Of sell contemporary ones too.

And, because we stock so many different varieties and have done loads of investigation on the subject of confectionery, A Quarter Of has become a source of knowledge on all sweets and consumers and the media automatically come to us if they want to find out about a certain nostalgic sweet from the past.

QoV: What’s your favourite retro sweet and why?


Michael Parker: Mint Fondants – £1.97 a quarter

QoV: What do you most enjoy about your job?

Michael Parker: I think it’s every kid’s dream to work in a sweetshop and I get to do it everyday – just on a much bigger scale. As well as bringing joy to lots of consumers who may have tracked down a particular favourite sweet after years of searching, I also really enjoy the challenge of running my own business. Although its clichéd, every day is different and I love managing a team and looking at ways to expand.

It’s also great to be able to taste lots of new varieties of sweets that come on the market and, as I love to use the internet and am interested in internet marketing, being at the cutting edge of e-commerce really appeals too.

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