Retford shop still a sweet success post-lockdown thanks to range of American treats

A thriving sweet shop is bringing visitors into the town of Retford, thanks to its wide range of American treats.

By Nat Wakefield
Wednesday, 21st July 2021, 1:26 pm

Sweetbox, in Carolgate, was launched by enterprising couple Paula Clarkstone and Darren Preston two and a half years ago.

And the couple believe their expanding variety of American sweets is possibly the biggest in Nottinghamshire, attracting families from across the region.

Paula, who has run a nail bar in Retford for 20 years, joined forces with her partner, Darren, to take over the sweetshop – then located just off the Market Square - when the previous owner retired in 2018.

Sweetbox in Carolgate, was launched by enterprising couple Paula Clarkstone and Darren Preston, two and a half years ago.

After a year - and re-investing every penny - Paula and Darren introduced ice cream milkshakes, before expanding into new premises on Carolgate, which allowed them to incorporate Sweetbox at the front and All Things Nails to the rear.

Paula said: “The move allowed us to accommodate both businesses in one building.

"Every penny we made on the sweet shop we put back in to expanding our ranges.

“We found that the demand for American sweets was really high and built up that side of the business to the point that around 70 per cent of our sales are now American products.

“The website has been really successful - we’ve had orders coming in from across the UK and we cater to all dietary requirements too.

“Since reopening we’ve had plenty of kids coming in to spend their pocket money – it’s great to build up a rapport and we’re now expanding the ice cream milkshake offer with a new flavour every month.

“Darren focuses on Sweetbox, while I tend to do the online side, so we complement each other as we work.

"Our daughter, Melody, nine, often helps out too.

“We’ve had families coming in from across the area who we hope are then going on to spend in other shops in the town centre, which is great.

“We just want to thank everyone for all their support through the lockdowns.”

To find out more, search Sweetbox Direct Retford or visit

In these confusing and worrying times, local journalism is more vital than ever. Thanks to everyone who helps us ask the questions that matter by taking out a subscription or buying a paper. We stand together. Sam Jackson, editor.