A TOWN’S last remaining independent sweet shop is closing its doors on Christmas Eve.

Izzy Wizzy Sweetiz in High Street, Droitwich, will close its doors on Monday after almost 20 years, with the owner admitting “we can’t compete with the big boys”.

Married couple Nicky, 42, and Kevin Roberts, 55, took over the business in 2014, keeping the name from previous owners – with Nicky estimating the premises first became a sweet shop in 2000.

The mum-of-one had left her office job to takeover the business with her husband, but said competition from franchises, including supermarkets, had made things difficult.

She said the regeneration of the town centre last year, which saw the High Street closed for months, was a key factor.

“Trade has really dropped off, but we never expected it would go like this within five years,” said Mrs Roberts, who has had to lay off two staff members.

“We took over in 2014 from a couple who’d already named it Izzy’s, so we left it as it was.

“It was really busy, and we thought, great, we’ll go for that. There were times when we first opened, I thought I can’t cope on my own.”

She went on to say, the High Street is “very quiet nowadays” which she feels is the main reason for closing at this time – but admitted traditional sweet shops “are a thing of the past”.

“At the time the road closed for a year, trade obviously slacked off, but it just never picked up again – it’s been hard for everyone,” she added.

The £650,000 revamp was started in June 2017 and completed that November, officially re-opening the following month.

The scheme, jointly funded by the county and district councils, started with infrastructure work completed by Severn Trent last summer.

The redevelopment included improvements to the uneven road and pavements, as well as a raised crossing point installed.

Several traders and residents complained about the impact the work was having on their business.

“I do find people are tending to use supermarkets and bigger stores – or they’re going online and buying in bulk,” said Mrs Roberts, of Droitwich.

“It’s sad because it is the last sweet shop. We get customers coming from places like Bromsgove and Stourbridge too because it’s a similar story there.

“It’s the way things are with a lot of independent businesses, with all the politics going on,” she continued. “Sweet shops are a thing of the past now – we have customers who say coming here is about the memories, reminding them of being a kid. It’s a trip down memory lane.”

Izzy Wizzy will re-open after Christmas for a few days to sell off all remaining stock and will continue to offer chocolate and sweet bouquet orders, as well as the candy cart, online.

For more information, including dates of the sale, search Izzy Wizzy Sweetiz on Facebook or email izzywizzydroitwich@yahoo.com.