Schoolboy to open his first sweet shop this weekend

Henry Patterson age 10 from Lidlington, who has opened his own shop.
Henry Patterson age 10 from Lidlington, who has opened his own shop.

Junior tycoon Henry Patterson fulfills every schoolboy’s dream when he opens his first sweet shop this weekend - at the age of 10.

The young entrepreneur, from Lidlington, who started his first enterprise when he was just six selling bags of manure for £1, opens the doors on Saturday, October 4.

He followed that with his own eBay store where he sold toys he bought from charity shops - and quickly made himself £150.

Then came his online sweet shop ‘Not Before Tea’ which broke its first month’s profit target of £10 in a week.

Henry’s mum Becky was already running an online confectionary supply company and the factory making them started producing his sweets as a sideline.

Since then Henry has had over a thousand web orders for his sweets - charging between £5 and £20 a jar.

He has also created a whole story idea around his range with two characters called Sherbet and Pip.

His jars come with pens so children can doodle on their own designs and also include reward stickers for children who clean their teeth before bed.

The product range has been expanded to include clothes, cards, bags and other children’s presents.

On Saturday he moves onto the High Street with his first Not Before Tea shop opening in Buckingham.

Five adults have been hired to run the shop at different times, with Henry helping out when he is not at school.

Their wages will come out of the business which is being set up with money from his grandparents and two business grants.

Big-thinking Henry - the youngest member of his local Chamber of Commerce - is already planning to open nine more shops in the next two years.

And eventually he plans to go global with a shop in America.

The youngster - who is a dab hand at spreadsheets, margins and business rates - said: “Every child secretly wants to run a sweet shop.

“It’s fun selling things online but I always imagined Not Before Tea as a real shop with real people working there.

“I liked the sound of the shops my mother and grandma talk about when they were young. Just going there was an adventure.”

Henry’s shop has been designed as a traditional one, with bell and shelves of vintage sweet jars, plus an arts corner where children can sit and draw.

Henry said: “I always like shops that let you do things.

“Shopping can be so boring when all you can do is watch your parents buy things.

“Hardly any shops have bells any more, but I think they should all have them.”

Becky, 41, who handles the product manufacturing, said: “It’s been such a wonderful summer - me and Henry bringing the shop to life.

“It has been such a lovely project for me and Henry to work on together.

“It is great because now Henry believes work is fun.”