Cheese Kit Kats and bacon flavoured mints on sale in Islington
Looking at the sweet-filled walls, the giant gummy bears and the weird, yet wonderful collection of pickle and bacon flavoured mints, you could be forgiven for thinking that you had stumbled into Willy Wonka’s factory.
Although perhaps not as fantastical as the fictional world of Wonka, Cyber Candy, in Upper Street, Islington, is sure to amaze even the most discerning of sweet lovers with its incredible variety of sugary treats.
Owners Margaret Morrison and Allan Goacher founded the company in 2000 when they began selling their creative collection of candies online.
Since then, Cyber Candy has grown into a fun and popular brand, fuelled by the couple’s love of quirky confectionary. They now have shops in Covent Garden, Brighton, Birmingham, and most recently, the Angel, Islington, where they keep their headquarters.
The Islington shop holds special meaning for both her and her husband, as the couple first met while Margaret was a student at City University’s Department of Information Science, down the road in Northampton Square, Finsbury. After deciding to open another London-based store, the pair had no doubts about where exactly it should be.
“My husband and I met when I was a student at City University. Angel was our hanging-out patch so opening a store here was really special for us,” said Margaret.
“We felt like we were returning to the place where we had originally met. When we found this space it seemed like the perfect location to launch our newest London store.”
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Since opening in April 2010, Cyber Candy’s Angel shop has seen a constant stream of customers, from the young to the old, all drawn in by the shop’s wide variety of tempting treats.
From Wonka Kazoozles, her personal favourite, to the Cinnamon Bun Bites, Margaret believes that the shop has something to offer everyone, from candy-crazed kids to seemingly straight-laced adults.
“The products are really popular with young adults, people who love the retro aspect of our shop,” she explained. “They get really excited about the candy and it makes them feel like they did when they were young children.
“Kids tend to go a bit crazy when they come in here, like they’re a bit overwhelmed by it all. They get over that soon enough though!
“People who have been away travelling love spotting things that they only thought they would find in another country. There’s a little something for everyone.”
Margaret herself is as enthusiastic and excitable as the candyman when it comes to stocking the store, and both she and her husband take great pleasure in sourcing the most innovative and exotic candy the world has to offer.
“We never realised there was so much variety, the choice of products is endless,” she explained. “We put little flags next to each candy so that people can see where they come from. It adds to the novelty and excitement of it.”
Although much of their purchasing is done online, Margaret stressed the importance of taste-testing every product that comes into the shop: “It is hard but some one has to do it,” she joked.
“I like knowing what everything tastes like so I can talk about everything that we have and know what they are like.
“I do manage to get my five-a-day in, even if it is in the form of a fruity flavoured sweet!”
Each of the Cyber Candy shops now stocks sweet treats from the US, Canada, Japan, Sweden and Finland, as well as some traditional favourites from the UK. Margaret is always on the hunt for new products and she hopes to receive a shipment of delightfully comical Danish sweets sometime soon.
“We’re looking forward to a delivery of Spunk from Denmark, which are a bit like wine gums,” she gleefully explained.
“I love the fact that some of our genuine products just happen to have silly names that everyone in the UK finds hilarious. Plop from Sweden tends to be quite popular because people think it’s funny for obvious reasons. It is a real product though.”
If you feel that the run-of-the-mill candies are too controlled for you, Cyber Candy comes compete with its own novelty section that holds a range of far-fetched flavours, sure to tickle the more adventurous pallets.
From egg nog bubblegum, a Christmassy craze, to scorpion and vodka flavoured lollipops, this section of the shop is most certainly reserved for the more daring of Margaret’s customers.
Not content to stop there, however, the Cyber Candy crew have found another tasty outlet for their creativity – own-brand products – the first of which has just gone on sale.
Margaret said: “We sell a lot of cereal from America that has these little marshmallows in and it is so popular, people love them.
“We found out that you could bulk buy the special ‘cereal marshmallows’ on their own and decided to start selling them under the Cyber Candy name.
“We designed the packaging and everything and it’s so exciting to see our first Cyber product on the shelves.”
New products arrive in store each day and Margaret delights in sampling every new flavour, ensuring that she maintains an open mind about all product possibilities.
Be it cookies and cream flavoured Hershey’s chocolate from the US, a Cyber Candy favourite, or the newly stocked Cheese Kit Kats from Japan, which Margaret insists are “so much more delicious that you might think”, you can be sure that every carefully selected product has been tried, tested and approved by true candy connoisseurs.