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Award-winning sugarcrafter set to close the door on Diss Sweetie Shop



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Tomorrow will see the shutters come down on a 30-year career when a Diss shop, which has been a sweet treat destination for children and adults alike, marks its final day in business.

Claire Webb, of The Sweetie Shop and Claire’s Sugarcraft, in Norfolk House Courtyard, St Nicholas Street, said her decision to close was due to a sharp drop in footfall.

The 55-year-old sugarcrafter, from Roydon, started her career in cake decoration after a school Christmas cake project.

Claire Webb owner of the Sweetie Shop & Clares Sugarcraft, is closing permanently. Picture: Mark Bullimore.
Claire Webb owner of the Sweetie Shop & Clares Sugarcraft, is closing permanently. Picture: Mark Bullimore.

She said: “In those days, you did domestic science. My dad was very good at icing cakes and my cake was so good it went on show.

“I have always been a very creative person, good with intricate stuff, so it just went from there.”

Her career in the art has seen her write three books on the subject, win countless awards and trophies, as well as teach in Jersey, the United States and in England.

The Sweetie Shop has more than 200 jars of sweets and chocolates. Picture by Mark Bullimore.
The Sweetie Shop has more than 200 jars of sweets and chocolates. Picture by Mark Bullimore.

When The Sweetie Shop came up for sale further up the courtyard from where she owned her business, Claire’s Sugarcraft, she saw an opportunity to put the two together.

Miss Webb said: “It came up for sale in 2003 as the owners were retiring. I took it on, combined it with my sugarcraft business and have never looked back.”

Having battled against constant closures and reopenings over the last two years due to the coronavirus pandemic, she said she had little choice but to call it a day.

“Small businesses are a dying breed,” she said. “If they are not supported, they won’t survive.

“This has not been an easy decision but retail is in a shocking mess and it will be for the next two or three years.”

The retailer said tomorrow would be a sad day as customers she served as children were now bringing their children in for a weekend treat.

“I am going to miss seeing those people day to day,” she added. “The excitement on children’s faces when they come in and Christmas, which is my favourite time in here.

“Thank you to all my friends and family for all their support over the years, especially my mum, Jill, who has helped in the shop.”



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