THE OWNER of a sweet shop with an emphasis on customer service has spoken of his ‘shock’ of winning an Observer and Gazette Business Award.
Paul Wakeman, co-owner of Bah Humbug, in Anchor Springs, Littlehampton, beat a strong list of entrants to scoop the ‘small business’ award.
But the shop is no stranger to awards success, having been winner of two Arun Business Partnership awards since opening in 2012.
Mr Wakeman said: “We were absolutely shocked. We saw our category and how many people were in it and we never expected to get a highly commended, let alone win.
“I think more shops in Littlehampton should do it as it is a great way of advertising the town for all the right reasons.”
Mr Wakeman said he had no idea why the judges picked the shop as a winner but customer service was key for them.
He said: “I think with us, what you see is what you get, and what you get is really good customer service.
“We decided that Bah-Humbug should be for its customers and not what we wanted
“We wanted to make sure that whatever budget our customers had, they would be able to shop with us and as long as we paid our bills we would be happy.”
Paul and his business partner, Dianne Few, set up the business in July, 2012, fulfilling a long-standing dream of Paul’s to open a sweet shop.
He said: “Bah-Humbug was a dream for about four years in Paul’s head before it opened 20 months ago and the idea of opening a sweet shop came to life on Christmas Day, 2011, over dinner with Dianne.
“We both had lost our jobs and were signing on and needed to find jobs.
“We did not want to work for a big company and wanted to have control over what we did.”
The duo’s dream is to open more branches in the future, subject to them finding suitable funding.
Littlehampton town centre regeneration officer John Edjvet praised the shop’s owners, stating the award was richly deserved.
He said: “A well deserved congratulations must go out to Bah Humbug.
“Paul and Dianne have got their product right and it’s a great sweet shop.
“They know that their customer age range is very wide and their product reflects that.
“Like many of the small independent traders in Littlehampton, they have worked in their shop andgot to know their customers, which means they provide a service which is very customer-focused.”