Candy king of Diss starts an American revolution with hit business
At just 18-years-old, former college student Joe Kerry is overseeing something of an American revolution in south Norfolk thanks to his sweet shop.
Since opening USA Sensations last year, the teenager has been offering people in Diss some of the best-known delicacies from across the Atlantic – from Hersheys chocolate and Takis to Twizlers, Nerds and Jolly Ranchers.
Running a sweet store was not always in the plans for the youngster, however.
Having studied music at Access Creative College, in Norwich, Joe had his heart set on becoming a music producer.
“I was learning how to make music, mixing and mastering vocals, but I was starting to think it wasn’t for me,” he said.
“At the time, I was ordering a lot of American sweets online, which my mates at college kept asking for.
“People would be coming in to record music and buying all the sweets off me.
“I was doing that for a little while and I started to realise that there was a demand for American sweets round here – all the kids seem to love it.”
After dropping out of college, Mr Kerry decided to invest his savings into a vacant shop space in St Nicholas Street, noticing that the relatively cheaper property costs could offer him a competitive advantage over some of his rivals in Norfolk.
“I looked at the American sweet stores in Norwich, and because their rent is really high, they have to sell the sweets at a high price,” he said.
Since opening, his store has proven to be a hit with sweet-toothed shoppers in the town.
“On social media, people like doing reviews and trying different countries’ sweets – so people see the sweets on there and want to try them for themselves,” he said.
“But its not just young people, I’ve got all ages coming in to the shop.”
As a one-man band, the teen certainly has his work cut out, but he is already eyeing up the possibility of a second branch.
“It’s hard work but it keeps me busy, so I like it,” he added.