Published: Tue 12 March, 2019
An award-winning Coalville business specialising in cake decoration has been able to expand into online sales thanks to support from North West Leicestershire District Council (NWLDC).
Sugar and Ice in Hotel Street, Coalville is already a firm favourite with many in the town as it strives to provide high quality cakes, ingredients and equipment to customers along with offerings of cake decoration courses for those that want to learn themselves.
Ambitious duo Debbie and Sophie Bass, manager and project manager respectively for Sugar and Ice, felt the store also needed to be trading online to boost sales and maximise its potential; so they went to NWLDC for help.
Through council’s Enterprising Town Centres Grant Scheme, they successfully applied for £2,468 to go towards new EPoS software, which has allowed them to open an online store and booking system on their website. It has also enabled Sugar and Ice to employ a new member of staff to support their online venture.
The grant scheme is part of NWLDC’s regeneration priority for Coalville, which has so far given £29,900 to seven Coalville town centre businesses. This is in addition to the £192,000 given to businesses through the Coalville Frontages programme, which helps fund visual improvements for businesses in the town.
Sophie said: “The online system opens up a lot of opportunities for us and it gives our business a whole new dimension that meets the needs of modern shoppers.
“We’ve also now been able to employ an extra person taking our total employees to 15 based across our two stores in Coalville and Leicester. Without the council grant I’m not sure we would have ever taken the leap to set up the e-Commerce store, so we’re really grateful for the support.”
The growth of Sugar and Ice and Sophie’s personal success led to her receiving the Employee of the Year Award at last year’s British Independent Retailers Association Awards. This award highlights business owners that are looking to celebrate the achievements of their business as a whole and what has made their shop stand out from others on the high street.
The business itself was also a runner-up in the Business of the Year category.
Sophie added: “It was amazing to win the award and as part of the prize for winning I was able to spend a week at a summer retail school, which was a brilliant experience.”
Debbie Bass said: “We love to see people come through the door, we have lots of regular customers and we see new faces all the time. However, we understand that some people like to shop differently and it was important for us to start having an online presence alongside our shop here in Coalville and our store in Leicester.
“Getting this set up was a big job but the council’s funding support really motivated us to make it happen and we’re delighted now it’s up and running.”
Councillor Tony Gillard, Portfolio Holder for Business at NWLDC, said: “We’re committed to the regeneration of Coalville and supporting the businesses in the town is a huge part of this.
“We want to encourage growth and new employment in the town and Sugar and Ice is a shining example of this.
“We’re proud to see the difference our funding is making in the town, and I’d encourage any business owners looking for support to get in touch with our Business Focus team.”
For more information business owners can contact Business Focus on 01530 454609.