Mr Simms Sweet Shop opens in County Mall - Take a video tour around Crawley's newest shop
Crawley's newest shop opened in County Mall today (Tuesday) - and the manager wants hopes it cheers up the Crawley community.
Mr Simms Sweet Shop officially opening a lunchtime with new Mayor of Crawley Councillor Shahzad Abbas Malik cutting the ribbon.
And franchisee and manager Tanveer Ulhaq, who was convinced to take on the franchise by a close friend who runs three Mr Simms shops, could not wait to open to the Crawley public.
He said: "I am very excited, this is something Crawley needed.
"I remember when the first lockdown kicked in I think the first casualty was a local sweet shop and that stayed in my mind.
"It’s been 15 or 16 months [since lockdown] and times are very tough but I just wanted to give something back to the Crawley community and give them something that would cheer everyone up. From the younger age to very old age, everyone loves sweets."
Tanveer has lived in in the town for 28 years and has seen many changes over the years. He said: "Crawley is my town and I have seen it when it was blooming, when we are in recession and when we have been in lockdown.
"Gradually we have seen shops closing down and the town getting deserted. In my old job I used to drive around different towns all over the country and Crawley was always different to them but now it seems more like them.
"We have had shops like Debenhams closing down and it’s devastating. We need bigger brands coming here and this shop is just a drop in the ocean.
"I hope Crawley will get back to what it used to be and we can be part of that."
Visitors will notice new branding at Mr Simms compared to the traditional style at the Horsham branch.
Tony Chang, head of franchising and a director at Mr Simms, is delighted with the new store and explained the change in branding.
He said: "Crawley is clearly a nice area to have a shop. This is a great sized shop, and everything we have changed in terms of the branding is here. Some of our shops are smaller, typically 500ft floor space but this one is much bigger. There is lots of variety for the customer and we are getting a lot of customers eager for us to open.
"We have heavily invested in new branding after various consumer research and this is what we have come up with, hopefully taking Mr Simms to a modern tradition.
"It’s more prominent and hopefully will be accepted as a national brand."
Cllr Shahzad Abbas Malik said: "It's great to see people investing in Crawley and creating jobs at this difficult time for everyone. And it's good to see the different variety of shops we have in the town centre."