Thank You Mick

After 45 plus years trading on Leicester Market, Mick Brennan, of Brennan’s Candy Cabin has decided to retire. Friday 13 April marks his last day on Leicester Market but don’t worry – the shop won’t be closing. Long-time employee Charlotte Marriott, who originally started working for Mick in 2005, will be taking over the business.

Market trading and retail has always been in his Mick’s blood – his parents were well known as ice cream trolley vendors around the market area before moving onto starting a market stall selling break-up toffee.

“I started coming to the market with my dad when I was seven-years-old and I was just intrigued by the whole thing. The yelling, the crowds, it was so busy in those days and I liked coming with him,” said Mick. “And of course, he made use out of me while I was here. I would move boxes for him or lift things or whatever he needed me to do.

“It’s funny the things you remember from being a kid. For some reason I remember one of the inspectors going round in the morning with this big coat and his pockets were stuffed with light bulbs. He would come up to each stall and pull this chord down and put the light bulb in for the day so they had light. For some reason that image of the man the big coat with all his lightbulbs in his pocket has stuck with me and it really intrigued me when I was a kid.”

Mick’s dad taught him the business and Mick remembers trips visiting sweet factories to sort out suppliers.

“I thought it was just great to see the candy getting made in the factories – seeing the toffee on the assembly line and I would go back to school and brag to the other kids about what I had seen.”

It wasn’t long before Mick took over the business himself in 1973 and in 1978, he moved from the outdoor market stalls to selling a variety of sweets in the indoor market. Originally he had a stall upstairs but when a large unit opened up facing Market Place South on the edge of the Market, he decided to take it on. He traded in this location until he was relocated to his current spot in 2014, behind Café Bocca, in anticipation of the indoor market being demolished.

When asked why he has chosen now to retire, he replied: “It’s a lot of work. You know it takes two-and-a-half hours in the morning and an hour at night to set up and take down the display. I’m working 10-12-hour days, five or six days a week – and it just gets to be too much. I want to be able to relax and enjoy my home.

“I talked to Charlotte (right) quite a bit before she decided to take it on. I wanted to make sure she knew what she was getting herself into. I didn’t want her to be overwhelmed and see the business struggle after I’ve spent so many years building it up. It would be really hard to see that.”

When asked about his most popular lines, he said: “Pick and mix and old fashioned jarred sweets are my biggest sellers. When Woolworths closed down, there wasn’t nearly as many places selling it so a lot of customers came to me.”

Mick has enough plans to keep him busy, but admits he is not going fully into retirement.

“I’ll be helping my son out with his eBay business selling sweets, which is starting to get busier. I’ll also cover for my son at his stall at Harborough Market when he wants to go on holiday.”

Don’t worry though, Mick does have some plans for relaxing. Mick is a big music fan, so plans to play more guitar and also has two Airedale terriers that he enjoys showing.

Mick is one of the many people whose hard work and dedication keeps the Market going and we would like to take this opportunity to wish him well on the next chapter of his life.

We are very pleased that the legacy will be continuing with the next generation of market trader, Charlotte Marriott, so please come down to say hello to her next time you are at the Market.

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