Brennan’s Candy Cabin
NEW LOCATION: Unit 46
One of many long-serving stalls at Leicester Market, people have been heading to Brennan’s Candy Cabin for years to treat themselves to the hundreds of different types of confectionary on offer.
We spoke to the stall’s owner, Mick Brennan, to find out the history behind one of the Market’s most popular destinations…
How long have you been trading at Leicester Market?
My father started trading at Leicester Market in the early 1960s, when he set up his confectionery stall. Prior to that, my mother used to sell ice cream at the market, starting in 1945 down where the old Woolworths was. He started in 1961 and continued to expand. He travelled around and traded at Loughborough Market, Melton Market and all the surrounding areas, but he predominantly traded in Leicester. Since then, we have traded in Leicester to this day.
Family is a consistent theme at Leicester Market, isn’t it?
Well, I’m about the third generation now and my son will be taking over to make him the fourth – so trading here is an on-going thing. We have a popular line and a popular product, so the demand is there.
How proud are you of your extensive range of confectionery?
Very proud; because we buy creatively, we buy products at the end of the line which are considerably cheaper. This means that we can always moderate the price and allows us to be very flexible. Towards the end of the week, we can move on the product, whereas supermarkets are often stuck to criteria where things are computerised. That makes it difficult to find out whether they can knock down the price. People come here and they can negotiate on the spot.
If you’re enjoying your job, which I’ve always maintained, it gets fed back to the customer. We’ve consolidated over the years and we’re indoors now and it makes the job more enlightening, because you’re not subjected to the elements.
How have things changed over the years at Leicester Market?
Well, it’s not as busy at it used to be and the out-of-town factor and parking is an issue. I think that retail has spread. Places like Melton have their own shopping areas, which they never used to. I always remember my father telling me that Wednesday was a busy day, because people came over from Market Harborough or Melton. Now, there isn’t as much reason to come into town, so we rely on those that are based in the centre or close by.
What do people specifically come to your stall to buy?
Traditional; old-fashioned; retro – but anything that tastes good. I have to admit, when I get a new line in, I have to try it. I’m not the sweet fanatic that I was when I was a child, but I find that if there is a new line that Mars or Rowntree bring out, I have to try it. In all honestly, it allows me to deliver my feedback to the customer too – and I’m more than happy for them to try it too. We had a crowd from Jordan come here on a two-week vacation, and they recently almost cleared us out!
We’ve kept Pick n’ Mix going and I think that variety is the key. I think that we have 73 lines at the moment and we have jelly sweets as well as chocolates.
What are your trading hours?
We’re here Monday to Saturday from 8:00am until 5:00pm, but of course we’ll stay here later if the demand is there.
What is your message to shoppers?
Come and see us! We offer a friendly service and the commodity itself is a good quality. We’ve been here too long for it not to be and the proof is in the eating! You’ll definitely enjoy the break-up toffee that we have, as it’s been with us for years and people love watching it smashed up with a hammer!