Young entrepreneur hits sweet spot with lockdown start-up

A young entrepreneur who started a sweety delivery business in lockdown has brought it back from the brink – and started two new ventures.

By Jolene Campbell
Saturday, 28th November 2020, 7:00 am
Fraser Howie, founder of Pentland Sweets
Fraser Howie, founder of Pentland Sweets

Fraser Howie launched Pentland Sweets from the bedroom of his Penicuik home in May to deliver treats to friends and neighbours with a sweet tooth who couldn’t get to the shops during lockdown.

The venture took off quickly and in just a few weeks he had moved into a unit in a commercial premises. By July he had his own town centre shop in John Street.

But after a couple of months orders dropped and he feared the business would go under.

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He said: "It's a safe option getting treats delivered straight to the doorstep. Folk put good reviews on Facebook saying it brought excitement to their kids. It just blew up.”

"The shop is now open seven days a week and employs eight members of staff. We sell all kinds of sweets, ice cream, milk shakes and cakes.”

“Initially we were very busy but a couple of months later things became a lot quieter. I feared we might not survive.”

Mr Howie signed up to What The Fork, his local online ordering platform and turnover doubled in a week. The company started delivering further afield and now deliver all over Midlothian and Edinburgh, from Dalkeith to Peebles.

Pentland Sweets has also delivered free boxes of treats to local care homes and offered a discount for key workers.

Mr Howie, who worked in construction for years, has now also started two other enterprises – a private hire taxi service and an ice cream van.

He said: “In the last 40 days the delivery app has generated over 950 orders. Many businesses have suffered greatly during the pandemic. However, I saw this as a great opportunity to become my own boss. And although there were some pretty scary moments during the summer, things are looking good just now.”

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