Belfast Telegraph

Belfast sweet maker Aunt Sandra's seeks new home as premises for sale


Jim Moore meets the Queen at St George’s Market in Belfast in 2014
Jim Moore meets the Queen at St George’s Market in Belfast in 2014
Margaret Canning

By Margaret Canning

The home of one of Northern Ireland's most famous sweet shops has gone on the market as part of a restructure, the Belfast Telegraph can reveal.

The premises of Aunt Sandra's at 64-72 Castlereagh Road in east Belfast is for sale at £175,000, though the business is not included.

Owner Jim Moore (68) said the enterprise, which also includes a cafe and sweet-making facilities, was not closing down and that he was hoping to find new premises.

Selling agents Fraser Kidd described the site as a "prominent commercial premises".

In September 2018 Aunt Sandra's invested £300,000 in a new production facility and shop at the units on Castlereagh Road.

Aunt Sandra's also runs tours of its premises and sweet-making workshops.

It manufactures honeycomb, some of which is sold to ice-cream makers for use in their products.

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Mr Moore said: "We are not sure what we are doing. We are in the process of restructuring and we might be moving to new premises.

"Things have changed and we need to change with the times."

However, he said the restructuring was not a formal insolvency process, such as a company voluntary arrangement.

He added: "We want to go in a different direction, take the business and make it better. But it is still doing well and we were fully booked over Christmas. Everything is good and we are still in the black."

The business started out in the 1940s, set up by a close family friend who Mr Moore knew as uncle Willie. He opened his first shop on the Albertbridge Road, followed by a second on Templemore Avenue.

As the business grew, uncle Willie decided he needed help, so he employed Mr Moore's aunt Sandra. When uncle Willie retired, Mr Moore was devastated to find out that he had sold all his equipment, as he had hoped to take over the business. An offer to buy the equipment from the new owner was declined, but one year later Mr Moore's offer was accepted, and aunt Sandra's Candy Factory was set up as a result.

Speaking to Business Telegraph in 2018, Mr Moore said he believed in being nice to the people he does business with.

He said he did not believe in chasing companies for deals after making an initial pitch.

"I don't like people chasing me, so I'm not going to do it. As long as you are reasonably priced and your product is good, then people will pay for it," he said.

Aunt Sandra's has maintained a stall at St George's Market, where Mr Moore met the Queen in 2014.

Belfast Telegraph